Asthma is a condition where the airways to your lungs are sensitive to particles that you breathe in. An asthma attack occurs when the particles inflame your airways to the point where it becomes difficult to breathe. Fortunately, unlike chronic obstruction pulmonary diseases, asthma is reversible through several treatments and medications.
The onset of an asthma attack is often preceded by coughing, with or without mucus discharge. Dyspnoea, which is difficulty in breathing, is often the cause of the cough. Chest tightness can occur, and if the asthmatic panics, hyperventilation can follow.
Shortness of breath or wheezing is another symptom of asthma. Fatigue, an inability to concentrate and a poor appetite are other signs of asthma, though an attack may not be imminent.
The Triggers of an Asthma Attack
The identified triggers of an asthma attack may or may not result in an attack – it all depends on how much inflammation is caused by the particles present in the breathing airways of an asthmatic patient. But to decrease the chances of an attack, it is advised that the patient avoid places where dust, dust mites, pollution, strong perfumes, scents or odors, smoking, and even insects like cockroaches where the environment is conducive to particulates that can cause the inflammation.
Exercise can also trigger the attack – it may not be particles in the airways but simply a shortness of breathe. EIA, or exercise induced asthma occurs when the asthma is poorly controlled with medication.
Treatments for Asthma
Two kinds of treatments are currently available for people with asthma – relievers and controllers. Relievers try to the symptoms of an asthma attack – wheezing and coughing, being short of breath and one’s chest tightening. These are classified as bronchodilators, such as the medicines Salbutamol, Ipatropium Bromide, Terbutaline, or other fenoterol hydrochloride combinations.
For maintenance, controllers are used for asthma. Controllers keep the airways to your lungs open by targeting the inflammation, and not the symptoms of an asthma attack. More often than not, steroids are used as controllers – but because the delivery of the steroids goes straight to the airways, only small amounts of steroids are required, keeping away a patient from the effects of long term steroid use.
Becotide, Fluticasone, and Budenoside are the more popular steroid controllers, but in extreme cases, Dexametasone, Prednisolone and even hydrocortisone fed intravenously may be required.
The Added Responsibilities with Asthma
One of things a patient with asthma will have to learn is to recognize what his personal triggers for an asthmatic attack are going to be. It is one sure way of either avoiding or being prepared for an attack. Aside from that, all a patient has to do is keep with his medications, and as one grows older, the less medication might be needed for the simple reason that one learns to adjust one’s life with asthma. It might take a lifetime of learning, but asthma is definitely a livable condition, and a normal one at that. And with the medications currently available, asthma becomes more as something to take care of, and not as a debilitating disease.