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Growing Threat of Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory condition categorized by the narrowing and swelling of the airways, often accompanied by increased mucus production. This narrowing obstructs airflow, leading to breathing difficulties, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While some individuals experience asthma as a minor inconvenience, for others, it significantly disrupts daily events and may even pose life-threatening risks.

Beyond the realms of medical literature, a 35-year-old asthmatic shares her journey of navigating asthma management while juggling work and family responsibilities. She recounts the challenges of coping with asthma triggers, including seasonal allergies and exposure to active smoker , and emphasizes the importance of proactive self-care and adherence to prescribed medications.

Similarly, a college student with asthma reflects on his experiences managing asthma during physical activities and exam stress. Through trial and error, he has learned to incorporate regular breathing exercise into his routine while being mindful of asthma triggers and effectively communicating his needs to peers and professors.

Although it cannot be cured, its symptoms can be managed effectively through proper treatment and lifestyle adjustments. With World Asthma Day on the horizon, it’s vital to highlight the importance of raising awareness about this condition and promoting education and management strategies. By developing understanding and support, we can empower individuals with it to lead healthier lives and reduce the burden of this chronic respiratory ailment.

Asthma attack:

When you breathe at ease, the muscles encircling your air passages remain relaxed, allowing air to flow smoothly and quietly. However, during an asthma episode, three distinct occurrences can unfold:

Asthma attack
  • Bronchospasm: The muscles encasing the air passages constrict, leading to a tightening of the airways. This constriction blocks the free flow of air through the narrowed passages.
  • Inflammation: The inner lining of your airways becomes inflamed and swollen. Consequently, these swollen air passages restrict the amount of air that can enter or exit your lungs. It creates more difficulties in exhaling the air.
  • Mucus Overproduction: Throughout the attack, your body increases mucus production. The thickened mucus then obstructs the air passages, making breathing even more difficult.

Causes of Asthma:

  • Genetic Factors: Family history of asthma or other allergic conditions is one of the major causes of it.
  • Allergens: Asthma may be prompted by allergic responses to a range of allergens, including pollen, mites, fungal particles, pet hair, and cockroach waste. Contact with these allergens can result in an overactive immune reaction, leading to inflammation and the manifestation of asthma symptoms.
  • Environmental Factors: Common environmental elements include atmospheric contaminants, tobacco smoke, chemical emissions, strong scents, and indoor or outdoor allergens.
  • Respiratory Infections: Respiratory viruses such as common cold, influenza, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can worsen asthma symptoms. These infections cause inflammation in the air passages, making breathing more difficult for this patients.
  • Occupational Exposures: Some workplaces carry a risk for developing occupational asthma, triggered by exposure to workplace irritants or allergens. Occupations with higher risks include those involving chemicals, dust, or fumes, such as agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.
  • Physical Activity: Exercise-induced asthma is a common trigger, especially in cold or dry air. Physical activity can cause rapid breathing and cooling of the airways, leading to these symptoms in susceptible individuals.
  • Childhood Respiratory Infections: Early respiratory infections in childhood, such as RSV or certain types of pneumonia, may heighten the risk of developing asthma later in life. These infections can cause lung damage and alter immune responses, increasing susceptibility to asthma.

Symptoms:

The symptoms vary from person to person. Its signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when exhaling (common in children)
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Management and Treatment

Effective management and treatment :

  • Bronchodilators: These medications act by relaxing the muscles which surround the airways, thus, allowing airborne flow in a relaxed and unhindered manner. Moreover, they control mucus flow and the motion of airway pathways for better breathing. Bronchodilators are administered to all types of asthma and work aimed at alleviating the symptoms once they are already present.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications: These drugs lower the level of inflammation in the airways to minimize mucus buildup in the airways so that the air can flow in and out of the lungs easily.
  • Biologic Therapies : In cases of severe asthma where symptoms persist despite standard inhaler therapy, biologic therapies may be recommended. These specialized treatments target specific inflammatory pathways involved in asthma and can help improve asthma control and reduce exacerbations.
  • Yoga & Exercise: As well as yoga, weekly practicing of exercise will probably be a perfect idea. The yoga, which is characterized by relaxation, deep breaths, and better lung function, and the exercise, which is helpful in increasing breath capacity and overall fitness, can be vital in the treatment of lung issues.

For further information, please read our another blog:

For further information about our Yoga Program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us 👉👇

  • Diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and vitamin rich foods may help reduce inflammation and support overall respiratory health.

To learn more about proper diet, we invite you to join our dietary group:

Conclusion:

Asthma is a complex respiratory condition that can significantly impact individuals’ lives, ranging from minor inopportuneness to life-threatening situations. Real-life experiences highlight the trials of managing this situation while juggling daily responsibilities, highlighting the importance of proactive self-care and adherence to prescribed medications. Active asthma management involves a multifaceted approach, including medication adherence, lifestyle modifications, and regular monitoring.

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Dr Pratim Sengupta's Team (Nephro)
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