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Asthma And it's Symptoms & Treatment

By Suparna Chakaraborthy

Asthma, generally know as acute breathing problem is caused by the narrowing of the airways. During asthma attack, the airways get swollen and the muscles around it tightens. The swelling is called bronchospasm. The inflamed cell lining of the airways produce thicker mucus, which leads to further narrowing of the airways.

Asthma are of two types, "extrinsic" or "intrinsic." Extrinsic is caused by allergies. It is more prevalent among children. According to researchers, almost 80% children suffer from it. This is caused by allergies like nasal allergies, eczema etc. It often goes in the early adulthood.

Intrinsic appears after the age of 30 and is not associated with allergies. The cause generally is respiratory tract infections. This is more difficult to treat and is not cured permanently, as the infection is triggered by different things in different people.

Asthma Symptoms

The general asthma symptoms are -

1.Coughing - Persistent coughing is the first symptom of asthma. The coughing is continuous. It is worse in early morning and when we are outside home. The cough is often accompanied with mucus and burning sensation in the throat.

2.Wheezing – It is a whistling sound which occurs when the patient berates. This sound is caused by the narrowing of the airway.

3.Chest Pain – Coughing is often accompanied with chest pain or feeling of pressure on the chest.

4.Breathing Problem – One feels that he can't breath in properly. This causes rapid breathing and rise in the rate of heart palpitation.

Other Symptoms Of Asthma

1.Fatigue – It causes a feeling of fatigue. You feel tired all the time because your natural respiratory condition is disturbed.

2.Lack Of Concentration – If it is chronic, it may lead to lack of oxygen in the system which might directly affect your concentration.

3.Throat Irritation – The inflamed cell lining, can make the person feel constant irritation in the throat.

Lung Function Test

Lung Function Test, measures the working of the lung. The Lung Function Test measure -

1.The capacity to breath of the lung according to age, height and sex.

2.How much air is being blown out by the lung and it's frequency and flow.

3.The function of lung in providing oxygen to the body.

4.How strong is the breathing muscles.

Asthma Treatment

Asthma treatment is very effective and can be cured when medication is taken in an early stage but for more chronic problems medications generally, reduces the frequency of asthma attack but not completely cure it. Few medications used in the process of treatment are -

1.Bronchodilators - Bronchodilators helps in relaxing the tightened muscles around the airways. The most common bronchodilators inhaler used is albuterol. The effect of albuterol lasts a few hours. It is the best inhale medication which is easily available.

2.Steroids and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs -Anti-inflammatory drugs are inhaled steroids which treat it effectively. It works on reducing the swelling, infection and mucus production. This mostly leads in the reduced of the attack. It makes the airways less sensitive to infections.

3.Adrenaline – This is among the first medications. Adrenaline opens up the airways passage helping the patient to breath properly. It is used in emergency situations but also has side effects like, headache, nausea, rapid heart beat etc.

4.Prednisone – Prednisone, is one of the most effective medication. Prednisone is used to lessen the frequent attacks but it also comes with it's own set of side effects. These side effects are not prevalent if taken for a weeks time but if taken over a month, then side effects tend to be a part of the treatment. This medication is used on a person from five to fourteen days.

Other ways to prevent attacks is to prevent the airways form -

1.Exposure to dust and smoke

2.Talking loud

3.Smelling strong fragrances

4.Walking steep roads

5.eating spicy food

It is the most prevalent in India, Australia and US. It is best to treat it when it is at it's nascent stage because then there are chances of being cured completely but if at a more serious stage medication take more time to effect.

Read more about: asthma cough and cold infection
Story first published: Friday, September 24, 2010, 15:28 [IST]
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