ASTHMA

General Infomation
Definition: 

Asthma occurs when the airways in your lungs (bronchial tubes) become inflamed and constricted. The muscles of the bronchial walls tighten, and your airways produce extra mucus that blocks your airways. Signs and symptoms of asthma range from minor wheezing to life-threatening asthma attacks. Asthma can be cured by herbal medicine.

Symptoms: 

Asthma signs and symptoms range from minor to severe, and vary from person to person.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness or pain
• Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
• An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
• Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu
Signs that your asthma is probably getting worse include:
• An increase in the severity and frequency of asthma signs and symptoms
• A fall in peak flow rates as measured by a peak flow meter, a simple device used to check how well your lungs are working

Asthma is classified into four general categories:

Asthma classificationSigns and symptoms

Mild intermittent Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month

Mild persistent Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day

Moderate persistent Symptoms once a day and more than one night a week

Severe persistent Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night

Causes & Complication
Causes: 

Exposure to various allergens and irritants can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma, including:
• Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
• Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
• Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
• Cold air
• Air pollutants and irritants such as smoke
• Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
• Strong emotions and stress
• Sulfites, preservatives added to some perishable foods
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
• Menstrual cycle in some women
• Allergic reactions to foods such as peanuts or shellfish

Complications: 

Asthma may cause a number of complications, including:
• Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
• Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling)
• Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma

Medication & Prevention
Lifestyle and Home Remedies: 

Although many people with asthma rely on medications to relieve symptoms and control inflammation, you can do several things on your own to maintain overall health and lessen the possibility of attacks.
Avoid your triggers
Taking steps to reduce your exposure to things that trigger asthma symptoms is a key part of asthma control. Here are some things that may help:
• Use your air conditioner. Air conditioning helps reduce the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that finds its way indoors. Air conditioning also lowers indoor humidity and can reduce your exposure to dust mites. If you don't have air conditioning, try to keep your windows closed during pollen season.
• Decontaminate your decor. Minimize dust that may aggravate night time symptoms by replacing certain items in your bedroom. For example, encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-proof covers. Remove carpeting and install hardwood or linoleum flooring. Use washable curtains and blinds.
• Maintain optimal humidity. Keep humidity low in your home and office. If you live in a damp climate, talk to your doctor about using a dehumidifier.
• Keep indoor air clean. Have a utility company check your air conditioner and furnace once a year. Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Also consider installing a small-particle filter in your ventilation system. If you use a humidifier, change the water daily.
• Reduce pet dander. If you're allergic to dander, avoid pets with fur or feathers. Having pets regularly bathed or groomed also may reduce the amount of dander in your surroundings.
• Clean regularly. Clean your home at least once a week. If you're likely to stir up dust, wear a mask or have someone else do the cleaning.
• If it's cold out, cover your face. If your asthma is worsened by cold, dry air, wearing a face mask can help.
Stay healthy
Taking care of yourself and treating other conditions linked to asthma will help keep your asthma under control. A few things you can do include:
• Exercise. Having asthma doesn't mean you have to be less active. Treatment can prevent asthma attacks and control symptoms during activity. Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs, which helps relieve asthma symptoms. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you've been inactive, start slowly and try to gradually increase your activity over time.
• Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts you at higher risk of other health problems.
• Control heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It's possible that the acid reflux that causes heartburn may damage lung airways and worsen asthma symptoms. If you have frequent or constant heartburn, talk to your doctor about treatment options. You may need treatment for GERD before your asthma symptoms improve.


Tags:

By Anonymous on 25 April 2011