Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Understand Asthma

Asthma is a very common chronic disease which is increasing every year.It affects people of all age, races and ethnic backgrounds.

It is a disease that is associated to the inflammation of the airways that causes airflow into and out of the lungs to become restricted.

When you have asthma, your airways tend to be red and swollen and irritants such as pollen or cigarette smoke causes the inside walls of the airways to become even more swollen. The passages get narrower and less air flows through to your lung tissue. 

In addition, mucus is also produced in larger than normal amounts which clogs your airways making difficult to breathe. Thus, the wheezing and inability to breathe accompany the attacks.

Common asthma symptoms are the wheezing sound made as the air squeezes through the narrowed airways, along with coughing, shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Symptoms can come and go with asthma, and their intensity can vary.

While asthma is often connected with allergies, it can also be related to non-allergic causes such as chemicals and other irritating substances. Exercise can also bring on asthma symptoms in some people. Individuals who are more sensitive may display asthma symptoms caused by pet dander, dust mites, cockroach allergens, molds, or pollens. 

Asthma symptoms can also be triggered by respiratory infections, exercise, cold air, tobacco smoke and other pollutants, stress, food, or drug allergies.

One of the highest risk factors for asthma is having a family history of asthma especially the allergic kind. Though asthma can affect people at all age, a fraction of them develop it during childhood usually before age 10 years.

Treatment for an asthma condition may consist of short and long term medications.
Long-acting bronchodilators help to open the airways. A doctor may prescribe a combination of an anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator such as Advair.

Short-acting bronchodilator such as Ventolin or Prednisone may be used that acts as a stabilizer in severe attack for quick relief.

Individuals who have mild asthma may use relief medication as needed. However, those with persistent asthma should take medication on a regular basis to prevent symptoms from recurrence. A severe asthma attack may require a medical evaluation or hospitalization, oxygen, and intravenous medication may also be indicated.

Breathless is a very stressful and fearful experience especially for a child. As adults can manage with the condition by carry their medications with them , likewise it is impossible for school aged children to do so. It is important for parents to ensure the validity of this mandate so that their child has access to the medication during the school day.

It will be a very disaster situation when the nurse or asthma medication is not available when the circumstances arises.