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Asthma, a crisis of the respiratory system

Today, asthma has become a major concern for the human being, as it is affecting the world’s population day-by-day. According to a recent survey, asthma has affected 25 million people in the United States and about 7 million of these asthmatic patients are children. Asthma is a commonly occurring long-standing inflammatory disease of the respiratory systems including lungs and bronchial tubules. Asthma is characterized by inconsistent and frequent symptoms, reversible airflow hindrance, and bronchospasm. Symptoms of asthma include frequent episodes, of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The coughing generally occurs at night hours or early in the morning.

Underlying factors accountable for the occurrence of asthma

Either alone or the combination of genetic and environmental factors are accountable for causing asthma. Family history is a major risk factor for causing asthma, with many different genes being concerned to cause asthma including GSTM1, IL10, CTLA-4, SPINK5, LTC4S, IL4R, etc. In some cases, genes are influenced by specific environmental exposures to cause asthma. There are various environmental factors have been connected with asthma’s growth and exacerbation including allergens, air pollution, and other environmental chemicals. These days, excessive smoking and low air quality because of traffic pollution or high ozone levels are responsible for causing asthma.

Triggering factors for asthma

There are various types of asthma each triggered by a variety of reasons. Mold, roaches, pollens and pet dander are the most common culprits responsible for causing allergic asthma. Asthma without allergies often occurs because of an upper respiratory infection including cold, flu, and rhinovirus. Sometimes, excessive utilization of drugs like Aspirin causes wheezing and difficulty breathing in patients that further result in aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). Exercise-induced asthma generally occurs because of intense physical exertion or exercise that leads to coughing, trouble breathing and chest tightness. Occupational asthma is a very common form of asthma at the workplace that usually occurs from smoke or inhaled irritants like chlorine.

Unhealthy lifestyle responsible for asthma

Each individual with asthma has his or her own exclusive set of triggers and most triggers can cause asthma attacks in some individuals with asthma and not in others. Several common triggers induce asthma attacks include excessive smoking, inhalation of smoke or polluted air, irritants at the workplace, emotional stress, respiratory irritants, allergens, physically hard work or exercise, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cold & dry weather, sulfites, hay fever, and upper respiratory infection including cold, flu, sinusitis, or bronchitis.

Prevention of asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease and there is no such permanent cure for asthma. The main objective of asthma treatment is to control the disease by managing the symptoms of asthma. A good asthma control plan offers control on taking your medications properly, avoid asthma triggers (excluding physical doings), monitoring your level of asthma control, acting in response to worsening symptoms, and seeking emergency treatment when desirable.

Treatments available to manage asthma

The treatments for asthma include generally two types of treatments including quick-relief medicines and long-term control medicines. Quick-relief medicines like Short-acting inhaled beta2-agonists and Anticholinergics, and oral or intravenous corticosteroids are generally employed in the treatment of first sign of symptoms of asthma for immediate relief. While several long-term control medicines are generally used on daily basis to manage or prevent asthma symptoms and attacks. Some of the long-term control medications employed in asthma management are Antileukotrienes or leukotriene modifiers, Inhaled corticosteroids, Cromolyn sodium, Oral corticosteroids, long-acting inhaled beta2-agonists, Methylxanthines, and Immunomodulators. Sometimes, certain unconventional treatments may help to manage asthma symptoms like breathing exercise, and herbal and natural remedies like black seeds, caffeine, choline, and pycnogenol.

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