Asthma

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What is the disease?

Asthma is a chronic inflammation disease. It causes narrowing and swelling of the airways, the bronchial tubes. This results in having difficulties with breathing. When the bronchial tubes are inflamed, they may become too susceptible to various allergens or nonspecific triggers and remain in a state of heightened sensitivity. This state is known as bronchial hyper-reactivity (BHR). It should be stressed that scholars distinguish a wide spectrum of bronchial hyper-reactivity that differs in all individuals. It is obvious that individuals with asthma or various allergies have a higher degree of bronchial hyper-reactivity than ones without these diseases. Individuals with asthma may have no symptoms and mild bronchial hyper-reactivity while some may have chronic symptoms and rather sever one (Fanta, 2009; Lemanske, & Busse, 2010).

What is its duration?

For some individuals, symptoms of asthma and its acute attacks can last for the whole life, whereas for others they can be controlled for a long period of time. It should be noted that sensitivity may persist, and acute attacks of asthma can occur more often. Shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, difficulties with breathing in and out, wheezing, and coughing are common symptoms of asthma which may worsen in the morning or at night, or in response to cold air or some exercises (Fanta, 2009; Masson et al., 2005).

How is it acquired?

The disease may affect individuals differently. Every person is exceptional and unique in his / her degree of reactivity to environmental factors. Asthma is considered to be caused by a blend of environmental and genetic factors. The most common triggers of asthma are: molds, animals, dust, insects, foods (milk, nuts, fish, eggs, sea-foods, soy, and others), work-related agents (formaldehydes, acids, latex), or additives. The common irritants of asthma are: tobacco smoke, respiratory infections (colds, flu, or bronchitis), environmental factors (smog, fumes, perfumes, deodorants, various chemical substances, weather, paints), physical exercises, hormonal disorders, emotional factors (distress, crying, or laughing), or other diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) (Fanta, 2009; Lemanske, & Busse, 2010; Masson et al., 2005).

How is it treated?

Medications that can be used in the treatment of asthma are subdivided into two general groups: quick-relief and long-term control medications. The quick-relief medications are used to treat acute attacks and symptoms, while long-term control medications are prescribed in order to prevent a further exacerbation. The most common medication used to treat asthma is the salbutamol metered dose inhaler. Anti-cholinergic medications are prescribed for the individuals with severe or moderate symptoms. For the long term treatment, doctors recommend glucocorticoids as these medications are proven to be the most effective and available. Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) are the most often provided medications that can be used in a combination with a dry powder inhaler or an asthma spacer. In order to get a dose of necessary drugs, an individual uses the spacer to mix the drug with air. They can be used by people with mild symptoms (Lemanske, & Busse, 2010; Masson et al., 2005). 

Is it curable?

It is impossible to avoid various trigger factors that may cause asthma, but there are some preventive medications and measures that can help to control its symptoms. An individual can use such measures in order to prevent asthma symptoms, such as avoiding difficult and energy spending activities, keeping all things clean, wearing a protective mask, trying to control allergens, and keeping to all recommendations of doctors. It is of greater importance to take preventive medications in order to control asthma. Each individual with asthma must have a fast-acting inhaler so as to use it if there is a necessity (Fanta, 2009; Lemanske, & Busse, 2010; Masson et al., 2005).

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