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Understanding Asthma And Knowing What To Do With It

Oct 9, 2007
Over 20 million people in the united states cant take breathing for granted because they are suffering from a chronic respiratory ailment called asthma.

The lungs are made up of hollow tube like structures which divide into branches which further divide into smaller branches. The branches get smaller and smaller till they end is small pockets where the blood takes the oxygen from and leaves carbon dioxide. But the hollow tubes swell up in the asthma patient making it difficult and very uncomfortable for them to breath. Exercise, stress, humidity, pollution, medication and allergens may trigger the asthma due to this inflammation.

Though asthma has no cure proper medication and changes in environment and way of living may help suppress the symptoms and help those affected have a near normal life. Some of the most common symptoms of asthma are coughing, chest congestion, wheezing, lack of breath, fatigue and anxiety. The symptoms may be varied for different persons. While the asthma initiated by allergens shows the symptoms well before the age of 35 the non allergic asthma starts in the middle age. The non allergic asthma can be initiated or aggravated by factors like stress, climatic changes, exercise and other illness.

Managing asthma becomes a very critical and integral part of the lives of the people suffering from it. To do this one has to be careful to keep away from things that affect the respiratory organs and take proper medication or home remedies as advised by the physician.

An asthma episode is the aggravation of the asthma symptoms and a severe case of asthma episode in called an asthma attack. The smooth muscles along the bronchial tubes start contracting during an asthma attack constricting the air passage resulting in less flow of air. This further increases the inflammation causing swelling and constriction in the air passage. Due to lack of air the cells in the air passage produce more mucus which compliments further constriction in the air passage. This lack of air causes the asthma symptoms.

Asthma attack may vary from very severe to not so severe. In severe asthma attack the air passage constriction may be so effective that a medical emergency condition may result due to lack of oxygen reaching the vital organs. Severe asthma attacks can be fatal. The sensation during an asthma attack has been described similar to that of drowning by some sufferers.

Knowing the warning signs or mild symptoms of asthma can be life saving as it will caution the sufferer in time to take preventive measure. An inhaler or medication can be used in time to control the symptoms before aggravation. There may be long phases of time between two attacks where a sufferer doesn't notice any symptoms or very few mild symptoms. But sometimes the symptoms may get aggravated and stay so for long periods of time.

Asthma can be passed on from generation to generation genetically. Children of parents with asthma history are 40 percent more likely to develop the ailment than kids without genetic history of asthma. The genetic factor for asthma cannot be removed but the ailment symptoms are highly treatable. The rising numbers of asthma sufferers among children has become a cause of concern for many. There is a wide belief that exposure to allergens in early childhood initiates asthma.

Change in environment and lifestyle is the best possible way to counter asthma. Prevention is better than cure applies more to asthma than anything else. Its better to avoid the triggering elements that initiate the symptoms of asthma. Various methods may be used to avoid specific allergens. House should be kept clean to avoid dust mites, pollen and animal dander triggered asthma. Keeping pets, smoke and other sprays away is also helpful. Stay indoors as much as possible and when outside ride with windows up in a car. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners on hot humid days if possible.

Medications prescribed by physician are an important weapon in defense against symptoms of asthma. Combination of medications becomes a critical issue. To decrease the swelling in the lungs tissue lining steroids are used while bronchodilators are used to relax the air passage ways of the lungs to open them up. Steroids are long acting while the bronchodilators are short and fast acting. These medicines can be used in the form of pills or inhalers. These can be used in combination with other medicines to get custom combinations for individual patients.

Though asthma symptoms vary from moderate to serious and asthma attacks can be fatal it is also highly treatable. Proper action plan and correctly complimenting environmental and lifestyle changes with medication can make a healthy6 active life possible for a person suffering from asthma.
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit Asthma Symptom Cure to learn more about asthma attack symptom and airway asthma pathophysiology.
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