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Asthma: a brief overview of the chronic lung condition

28 January

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation in the lungs, thereby narrowing the airways. This makes it difficult for the person to breathe since the air has a more difficult time passing through the airways.

Prominent signs and symptoms of asthma

The four most common signs and symptoms are: Shortness of breath - inability to get an adequate amount of air into the lungs, due to airways being narrowed Coughing - dry, unproductive cough that is without any phlegm Wheezing - a high pitched whistling sound while breathing in and out that occurs due to airways being inflamed and narrowed Chest tightness - the feeling of the chest being squeezed or being placed under a heavyweight

Common triggers of asthma

Symptoms of asthma are triggered in response to various allergic or non-allergic stimuli. Some of the common triggers include:

  • Smoking
  • Dust, air pollution
  • Allergies, pollen
  • Pet hair
  • Changes in weather
  • Food sensitivities
  • Exercise
  • Illnesses
  • Strong odours
  • Dust mites, insects
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • House dust, pet, pigeon excreta

Important facts to know about the severity of asthma

• The severity of one’s asthma is judged on the extent of treatment required for symptoms • Severe asthma attacks aren’t exclusive to severe asthmatics. They can affect those with even mild asthma • The severity levels of asthma in a patient can change over time

Living with asthma to help keep it controlled

Asthma is a condition that lasts for a lifetime. That being said, leading a conscious, healthy lifestyle can help ease symptoms and deal with the condition better. Some practices to do on a daily basis include: • Avoiding exposure to asthma triggers such as industrial smoke, dust mites, and pet hair • Sticking to medication • Eating a balanced diet • Exercising regularly with a doctor-approved routine

Commonly asked questions

Is asthma contagious? While some respiratory conditions may be contagious in nature, asthma isn’t, and cannot be passed from person to person. Can asthmatics exercise / engage in physical activity? Yes, people with asthma can engage in exercise and other forms of physical activity. In fact, doing so is beneficial for them. However, in case of cough, pain in the chest, or shortness of breath during exercise, it is best to consult a doctor right away and follow his / her instructions subsequently.. Rescue medications can cure asthma - true, or false? False. Rescue medications such as inhalers cannot completely cure asthma. Rather, they are used to help breathe easier in the short term.   by

Dr. Vivek Toshniwal,

Consultant Pulmonologist

MD (Pulmonary Medicine),

CARE Hospitals, Nampally

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