What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that makes breathing a challenge. It happens when the bronchial tubes, also known as airways, produce extra mucus causing them to become narrow and swell. For most, this disease is seen as a minor annoyance, but for some, it can be a major problem for daily activities and can have a long-term effect.
Symptoms of Asthma and Wheezing
Someone with Asthma will experience swollen breathing airways. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. When these symptoms are triggered, the muscles around the airways can tighten and can become even more swollen.
Wheezing is a high-pitched sound made from breathing. The most common cause is from asthma, but it may also be caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Even though asthma is not completely curable, there are still ways to control your symptoms. For long-term treatment, you can use medications such as inhaled Corticosteroids and Theophylline to keep this disease controlled on a day-to-day basis and reduce the risk of a heart attack. There is also short-term medication, which is used for unexpected attacks, and these include Ipratropium Bromide and oral Corticosteroids.
There are several risk factors, a few are as follows:
- Being overweight
- Being a smoker
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
Asthma is a disease that cannot be naturally prevented, but by taking the precautions it can decrease your chances by a great amount. Vaccinations for both influenza and pneumonia can prevent triggering flare-ups. Knowing triggers ahead of time can also help prevent future complications. Triggers may include:
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Physical activity
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Strong emotions and stress
- Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine