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Do You Think You Have Asthma

Nov 9, 2007
More than fifteen million people in the United States suffer from asthma, making it a very common long-term condition that affects the human airways and breathing process. Whether or not you have experienced what asthma is, you should be aware of its existence and how it can endanger a person's well-being. Regardless if you are currently diagnosed as an asthmatic or not, knowing the nation's leading cause of chronic illness in children, less than sixteen years of age, is extremely important.

In fact, of the ten million people diagnosed with asthma, five million are children alone and over one million are asthmatics over sixty-five years of age. But although younger individuals can develop asthma more frequently than adults, the fact remains that an asthma attack can occur at any moment during our lives. Asthmatics have reported attacks while outside or inside, during any season of the year and time throughout the day. Whether or not one experiences asthma attacks once a day, a month, or a year, they can last anywhere from a few minutes to even days. But today, these upper-respiratory problems can be alleviated when surfacing, as asthmatics can decrease their severity by taking the proper medication that is prescribed by a doctor to treat their particular situation. Moreover, peak flow meters, devices that measure the amount of force an asthma patient can exhale, help asthmatics track their situation and check if an asthma attack is on its way.

Asthma affects the airways, the small tubes that carry air in and out of lugs. Those suffering from asthma have sensitive airways that can easily become swollen. During the irritation process they narrow in width, the muscles around them tighten, and there may be an increase in production of sticky mucus or phlegm. All these make the possibility of breathing extremely difficult and cause wheezing, coughing and chest pains associated with one feeling short of breath.

Unfortunately, while many suffer from asthma and the cases reported vary from rather mild to very severe, the cause of asthma is not yet fully understood. Researchers and specialized doctors have concluded that asthma is partly an allergic condition and partly hereditary (run through the family) because of the genetic connection found between asthma, hay fever and eczema. But since anyone can develop asthma at any time during their lifetime, doctors cannot predict who will suffer from asthma in the future solely based on hereditary indicators. Again, although asthma is not predictable, it is somewhat preventable. Asthmatics have to keep track of their case -duration and austerity of their asthma attacks- and report to their doctor any observed change. Using the peak flow meter daily and stay on alert for warning signs of possible asthma incidents are some of the practices asthmatics can use to prevent themselves from experiencing an unforeseen attack.
About the Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Health, Men's Health , and Society
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