Sunday, August 24, 2008

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma by StephB.

Asthma is known as an inflammation of the bronchial passages in the lungs. It occurs when the passages become constricted. It’s usually set off by specific triggers which are unique to those who suffer from it. Asthma is called an obstructive lung disease because it’s known to cause resistance to exhaled air. Asthma is a lung condition that fits into the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) listing along with bronchitis and emphysema.
Doctors don’t know what causes Asthma, but there are some factors and theories that they are examining. Everyone who suffers from asthma has sensitivity to various triggers. It’s theorized that some are born with a tendency to have asthma and so scientists and doctors are currently trying to find genes that might be behind the cause. Also, the environment one lives in partly determines asthma attacks. Some risk factors involved in developing asthma include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema, which is an allergy that affects the skin, and a genetic predisposition. Not surprisingly, hay fever, or rhinitis, is the biggest risk factor for developing asthma.
Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. By managing asthma, most all who suffer from it can have a productive life. Not everyone who has asthma experiences symptoms in the same way. So while the symptoms are common, the experience is individual.
Some of the most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, gasping for breath, chest tightness, pain or pressure. A simple device to measure how well your lungs are working is a peak flow meter and it can help determine if there’s a need to increase medication to help you manage your asthma better.
Asthma has several triggers. For me, my asthma was exercise induced. Growing up, I did not have asthma, but after an operation when I was twenty-three, I developed exercise induced asthma. As I read my paperwork for the operation, after the fact, I discovered that asthma was listed as a side effect from undergoing general anesthesia.
Other triggers include tobacco, polluted air, respiratory irritants such as perfumes or cleaning products, mold, dry weather, sulfites, (which are additives found in some food and wine) and surprisingly, menstruation.
Asthma attacks have several different classifications depending on the severity of the attack. When attack are infrequent, no more than twice a week, the asthma is known to be mild-intermittent. Mild persistent are more than two attacks a week, but not everyday with some occurring at night. They might disrupt regular activities. Daily attacks and night time symptoms that occur more than once are known as moderate-persistent and are managed using quick relief medication. Severe-persistent attacks involve frequent attacks that limit daily activities.
Asthma is manageable under a doctor’s care. By knowing the symptoms and the triggers for you, you can react to an attack quickly and get it under control.

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