What is asthma? Causes, symptoms and treatment

Asthma is the name by which a chronic disease of the respiratory system is known, which is mainly characterized by the fact that the affected person has difficulty breathing. Next, we talk about What is asthma? Causes, symptoms and treatment.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a pathology that affects the bronchi . Asthmatic people are prone to have infections in their airways , that is, they become inflamed and produce a large amount of mucus. On the other hand, it should be noted that individuals suffering from asthma are really sensitive to certain situations (physical exercise, dust, cigarette smoke, etc.), which causes the muscles that line their airways contract and become tense.

This condition added to the infection of the airways causes them to narrow so that the correct passage of air through the body is It is difficult.

Although asthma is mainly characterized by being a disease in which the person suffering from it has difficulty breathing, we have to say that there are different types of asthma.

Types of asthma

The many potential triggers of asthma explain to a large extent the different ways asthma can occur. In most cases, the disease begins in early childhood from 2 to 6 years of age. In this age group, the cause of asthma is often related to exposure to allergens , such as dust mites, tobacco smoke and viral respiratory infections. In very young children, under 2 years of age, asthma can be difficult to diagnose with certainty. Wheezing at this age often follows a viral infection and may disappear later, without causing asthma. Asthma , however, can develop again as an adult. Asthma onset in adults occurs most often in women, mostly middle-aged, and often follows a respiratory tract infection. Triggers in This group are usually non-allergic in nature.

Therefore we can say that there would be mainly two types of asthma, the allergic (extrinsic) and the non-allergic (intrinsic). A better understanding of the nature of asthma can help explain the differences between them. Extrinsic or allergic asthma is more common and usually develops in childhood. Approximately 70% -80% of children with asthma also have documented allergies. Typically, it occurs after a family history of allergies. In addition, other allergic conditions, such as nasal allergies or eczema, are also usually present. Allergic asthma often goes into remission in early adulthood. However, in many cases, asthma reappears later.

Intrinsic asthma accounts for a small amount of all cases . It usually develops after age 30 and is not usually associated with allergies. Women are affected more frequently and many cases seem to follow a respiratory tract infection. obesity also seems to be a risk factor for this type of asthma.The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are a combination of genetic predisposition with environmental exposure to substances and inhaled particles that can cause allergic reactions or irritate the respiratory tract, such as:

  • indoor allergens (for example, house dust mites on bedding, carpets and stuffed animals, pet dander and contamination)
  • outdoor allergens (like pollen and mold )
  • smoke tobacco
  • chemicals irritants at work
  • air pollution

Other triggers may include cold air, extreme emotional excitement, such as anger or fear, and physical exercise . Even certain medications can trigger asthma, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, and migraine).

The symptoms of asthma

Los classic symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, cough (often worse at night) and wheezing (acute wheezing caused by turbulent air flow through the airways narrow, usually with exhalation). Many patients also report tightness in the chest . It is important to keep in mind that these symptoms are episodic, and people with asthma can spend long periods of time without any symptoms.

Common triggers of asthmatic symptoms include exposure to allergens

strong> (pets, dust mites, cockroaches, molds and pollens), exercise and viral infections. Tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke complicates the management of asthma.

Many of the symptoms and signs of asthma are nonspecific and can also be seen in other conditions. . Symptoms that may suggest conditions other than asthma include the appearance of new symptoms in old age , the presence of associated symptoms (such as chest discomfort, dizziness, palpitations and fatigue) and lack of response to the appropriate medications for asthma.

The physical examination in asthma is usually completely normal. Occasionally, wheezing is present. In an asthma exacerbation, the respiratory rate increases, the heart rate increases and the respiratory work increases. People often require accessory muscles to breathe, and respiratory sounds may decrease. It is important to keep in mind that the level of oxygen in the blood typically remains quite normal even in the midst of a significant exacerbation of asthma. Therefore, a low level of oxygen in the blood is a concern for impending respiratory failure.

Treatment for asthma

Since asthma is a chronic disease, treatment continues for a long time . Some people have to stay in treatment for the rest of their lives. The best way to improve your condition and live your life on your terms is to learn everything you can about your asthma and what you can do to improve it. Among the treatments to follow we have two types of medicines:

Treatment controller

The controllers, too called "preventores", reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract so they must be taken every day.If it does, the airway inflammation can return.

Calming treatment

Relievers relieve symptoms quickly If your symptom is coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath, use a soothing medication to reduce symptoms. Painkillers are just a short-term solution to your respiratory problem , because they treat bronchoconstriction or hardening of the airways, but do not treat the underlying inflammation of the airways. Monitor how often you use your painkiller, since increased use over time indicates that your asthma is getting worse. Inform your doctor or consult your asthma action plan if you start using your relief medication more.

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