We often hear about asthma and how it affects the life and breathing patterns of the patients, often with uncomfortable symptoms. If you have this condition or have a loved one suffering from it, it is essential to know asthma meaning and its basics such as its types, causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Asthma is a condition that causes the airways in your lungs to narrow, get swollen, or inflamed. This not just leads to the production of extra mucus but also makes them more sensitive to environmental triggers such as cold weather, smoke, dust, etc. This makes breathing difficult or causes cough or wheezing.
It is a chronic condition that can affect people at any age and is amongst the most common diseases in the world affecting millions of people around the world.
Asthma has quite an impact on people’s lives. It not just causes sleep disturbances, poor concentration, and daytime fatigue, but also has a financial impact from missing out on work or studies and managing the costs of treatment.
Everyone’s experience of this condition is different brought on by different triggers. This is what classifies asthma in different categories. These include:
This is one of the most common types of asthmas that make you sensitive to certain types of allergens. These may include mold, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, etc. This is usually seasonal when there is increased pollen in the air. This asthma can get triggered either indoors or outdoors.
At times, certain kinds of foods such as eggs, soy, peanuts, or seeds, may also cause allergic asthma.
Also known as non-atopic asthma, it is the type that is not caused due to an allergy trigger and is less common than allergic asthma. Its causes are not well understood.
This type of asthma mostly occurs later in life and can have more severe symptoms than other types of asthma.
As the name suggests, this asthma flares up at certain times during the year with a particular season. The most common seasons where one sees a rise in asthma cases include the high-pollen hay fever season, extreme cold or hot season, or days of the year when the pollution levels spike.
This type of asthma flares up due to a person’s involvement in certain types of jobs. These jobs may cause exposure to things like paint fumes, insecticides, pesticides, aerosols, or other chemicals.
While the exact causes of different types of asthma are not known, they are understood to be a mix of genetic and environmental reasons. Here are some of the key factors that cause asthmatic conditions in people:
Besides these direct or indirect causes, certain factors increase your risk of getting asthma. These factors include:
Not everyone has the same symptoms of asthma. They vary from person to person and develop at different rates. Some people may experience these throughout the day and in some people, they may flare up due to sudden exposures or physical activity.
Here are some of the most common asthma symptoms to watch out for:
In case the above-mentioned symptoms don’t get better with treatment and become chronic accompanied by these signs, you must get immediate medical attention:
Your doctor will diagnose asthma after checking your history of symptoms and carrying out a physical examination and tests using a spirometer. You may also have to undergo imaging or allergy tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms such as COPD or bronchitis.
Once the asthma diagnosis is confirmed, to start your asthma treatment, the doctor will take into account the severity of your symptoms, age, and general state of health.
If you have asthma, it doesn’t mean that you always have to live with its debilitating symptoms. Since asthma has no cure, its management and prevention are essential to avoid frequent attacks and to lead a well-rounded life. Minimizing your exposure to allergens by maintaining hygiene, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining optimum weight, can prevent asthma in the long run. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety and having an optimistic and happier disposition.
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