What is Asthma? How can I know I have Asthma or not?
Asthma is a medical disorder in which a person experiences a certain amount of difficulty in breathing triggered by change in season, climate, temperature or other precipitating factors. Asthma is usually caused by allergens which cause allergy in the body. With increased amount of pollution in the air Asthma is spreading its wings all over the world. In Asthma the breathing tubes of lungs get swelled up and inflamed resulting in narrowing of breathing tubes (bronchioles).In a patient suffering from Asthma the narrowed airways do not carry the required amount of oxygen supply resulting decreased oxygen levels in the blood and hence difficulty in breathing, along with other classical features of Asthma. The signs of Asthma include difficulty in breathing, cough, sputum production, chest congestion.
Your Doctor is the best Man to decide whether you have Asthma or not. Along with the physical findings, Peak flow meter and chest x-rays are a few methods to diagnose Asthma.
The bronchioles with Asthma gets swelled up resulting in less air entry and hence difficulty in breathing.
What causes the Asthma?
Causes of Asthma: Asthma is an autoimmune disorder. Following are some factors that can trigger an Asthma attack.
* Substances which cause allergy are called allergens like dust, pollens, and certain foods like fish or egg, animal dust.
* Cigarette or tobacco smoke, air pollution from vehicles, dust from home, perfumes or other fumes.
* Fast food or cold drinks.
* Heavy physical exertion.
* Mental stress.
What are the signs and symptoms of Asthma?
Sign and symptoms of Asthma:
* Cough is a frequent sign in Asthma it can be productive (with sputum) or without sputum.
* Breathing difficulty commonly associated with wheezing or whistling sounds from the lungs.
* Chest congestion, felling like heaviness of the chest.
* Breathlessness after slight work or walking.
* Decreased oxygen concentration in the blood.
* Restlessness during a sudden attack of Asthma.
How can I live a normal life with Asthma?
Things to do:
* Deep breathing exercises e.g. 2-3 times for 10-15 minutes a day.
* Stop smoking completely, if you are a smoker.
* Avoid all allergens.
* Avoid dust. A housewife having Asthma may be greatly helped by vacuum cleaner to clean dust. Use a mask while dusting.
* Avoid carpets on the floor, which harbor dust.
* Avoid pets if you are Asthmatic.
* Avoid industrial fumes in factory workers.
* Ask your doctor or healthcare provider how to use your emergency inhaler correctly.
* If a particular food triggers an attack of Asthma, avoid it e.g. cold drinks, particular fruits, fish, chocolates.
* If any emotional or family problem, try to sort out, or use tranquillizer or consult psychiatrist.
* For repeated attacks, advise change of weather i.e. a holiday in dry climate, will help more than medicines.
* Avoid mosquito coils and mats. Use mosquito net instead or topical mosquito repelling cream.
* Avoid passive smoking.
* Asthma is one of psychosomatic illness. So mind tranquility is very important part of treatment.
* If a patient of Asthma gets a dramatic relief in dry climate and attack otherwise, he or she should change the residence, if possible to a dry climate place.
* Take a glass of warm water early in the morning; take warm drinks like tea, coffee, soups often.
Things not to do:
* Avoid deep fried food or junk food like pizzas, hamburgers, chips.
* Avoid too cold foods like ice creams, cold drinks.
* Avoid sour food like non fresh curds, raw onion.
* Avoid sour fruits like citrus fruits (orange, lemon), sour grapes. By trial and error method and keen observation, note if any particular food is causing an attack of Asthma, Asthma such food must be totally avoided.
* Avoid heavy meals – eat in small quantity of meals and take dinner early.
* Avoid sleep at least for 2 hours after meals.
* What are the complications of Asthma?
* Complications of Asthma include severe respiratory failure and if not treated on time, death eventually.
What to do when I have a sudden Asthma attack?
Contact your doctor or seek a healthcare professional service. If Asthma attack is severe rush to a hospital for aggressive treatment. Always keep emergency respiratory Inhaler within your reach. People living in remote areas are advised to seek a first aid treatment before leaving for hospitals located far away from areas.