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Asthma: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs and is one of the most common long-term conditions in children. It causes wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but you will have attacks only when something troubles your lungs.

Signs and Symptoms?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when exhaling especially in children
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus

Signs of worsening condition:

  • More frequent and bothersome symptoms
  • Increasing difficulty breathing
  • The need to use an inhaler more often

What Causes Asthma?

There is no specific cause of this condition but there are typical triggers that can kickstart its attack. Some causes are due to a combination of environmental and inherited factors. Other trigger includes:

  • Exposure to several irritants and substances that trigger allergies 
  • Airborne allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and waste particles.
  • Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • Cold air and physical activity
  • Smoke and other air pollutants
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease 

Watch out for these factors that increase your risk of developing or triggering an attack. They include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing, and manufacturing

Treatment and Management of Asthma

Attacks can be prevented and controlled long-term. Symptoms are usually controlled by learning your triggers, avoiding triggers, and tracking your breathing to ensure your medications are working. In case of an asthma flare-up, you may need to use a quick-relief inhaler.

The right medications for you depend on your age, symptoms, triggers, and what works best to keep your condition under control. Inflammation of your airways leads to symptoms when you take preventative, long-term control medications. Quick-relief inhalers quickly open swollen airways that are limiting breathing. In some cases, allergy medications are necessary.

Medication Used for Asthma

Albuterol relieves bronchospasm associated with asthma and chronic pulmonary diseases. It works by dilating the bronchial muscles and acts upon the airways by opening the breathing passages. It also relaxes the muscles of the breathing passages, thereby allowing a smooth flow of air and relieving the difficulties in breathing.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies for Asthma

Taking steps to reduce your exposure to its triggers is a key part of the control. You can prevent its attack through lifestyle and home remedies, especially for patients who have a chronic condition.

  • Maintain optimal humidity. If you live in a damp climate, talk to your doctor about using a dehumidifier.
  • Prevent mold spores. Clean damp areas in the bathroom, kitchen, and around the house to keep mold spores from developing. Get rid of moldy leaves or damp firewood in the yard.
  • Use air filters or filtered air conditioner. To reduce your exposure, you should use your air conditioner to reduce the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds that find their way indoors. 
  • Decontaminate your decor. By replacing certain items in your bedroom, you can minimize the dust that may worsen nighttime symptoms. 
  • Get regular exercise. You can relieve symptoms by exercising regularly, which strengthens your heart and lungs. If you exercise in cold temperatures, wear a face mask to warm the air you breathe.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen its symptoms, and it puts you at a higher risk of other health problems.
  • Reduce pet dander. Avoid pets with fur or feathers if you are allergic to dander. Having pets regularly bathed or groomed may also reduce the amount of dander in your surroundings.
  • Cover your nose and mouth if it’s cold out. If your condition is worsened by cold or dry air, wearing a face mask can help.
  • Control heartburn and GERD. If you have frequent or constant heartburn, talk to your doctor about treatment options. You may need treatment for GERD before your symptoms improve.

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