Bronchial asthma, or you may be more familiar with “asthma”, is a disease caused by inflammation of the airways (bronchi).
The inflammation eventually makes the airways swollen and very sensitive.
As a result, the respiratory tract narrows so that air enters the lungs is limited.
Inflammation also causes cells in the respiratory tract to make more mucus than normal.
This mucus can further narrow the airways and make it difficult for you to breathe freely.
Depending on the triggering factors, asthma is usually divided into several types, namely:
- Sports asthma.
- Nocturnal asthma (recurrence only at night).
- Asthma due to certain jobs.
- Asthma cough.
- Allergic asthma.
One of the myths about asthma that many people believe is that this disease can be cured. Unfortunately, this is not correct.
Asthma cannot be completely cured.
If you don’t feel the symptoms as often as you used to, this indicates that you are able to control your asthma well.
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How Common is This Condition?
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 339 million people in the world have this condition.
Diseases that affect breathing are more common in children. Asthma Definition.
However, adults under the age of 40 can also experience it.
Bronchial asthma is one of the most common non-communicable diseases worldwide, with a relatively low mortality rate.
However, most of his deaths were found in low- and lower-middle income countries. Asthma Definition.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma?
When a person has an asthma attack, the symptoms that arise are very diverse.
Everyone can experience different symptoms, both in terms of severity, duration of attacks, and frequency.
You may “relapse” after a long time, then suddenly become “routine” having asthma attacks.
Meanwhile, other people may experience symptoms every day, or only at night, or maybe only after activity. Asthma Definition.
Some of the typical signs and symptoms of asthma are:
- Tight chest.
- Hard to breathe
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In addition to the four most common above, other symptoms that may appear due to asthma include:
- The body is weak, lethargic, and has no energy.
- Nasal sound.
- Breathe constantly.
- Unusual restlessness.
If you suspect one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t hesitate to see a doctor immediately. Asthma Definition.
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Recognizing The Severity Of Asthma
Not only knowing the symptoms, it is also important to understand the severity of your bronchial asthma.
The reason is, asthma recurrence usually depends on how severe the condition you have.
The following are the severity levels of asthma:
- Light persistence.
- Moderate persistence.
- Persistent weight. Asthma Definition.
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What Causes Asthma?
Experts don’t know for sure what causes asthma.
However, attacks generally occur when a person is exposed to the trigger. Asthma Definition.
Some things that might be the cause of asthma trigger alias, among others:
- Active smokers and passive smokers.
- Upper respiratory tract infection (such as a cold, flu, or pneumonia).
- Allergies to food, pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander.
- Exposure to substances in the air (such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or toxins).
- Weather factors (such as cold, windy, and hot weather coupled with poor air quality and drastic temperature changes).
- Taking certain medications (such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and beta-blockers).
- Foods or drinks that contain preservatives (such as MSG).
- Experiencing severe stress and anxiety.
- Excessive singing, laughing, or crying.
- Perfumes and fragrances.
- Have a history of gastric acid reflux disease (GERD). Asthma Definition.
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Who Is At High Risk For This Disease?
This disease can affect anyone, even adults in their 30s or 40s.
Indeed, most cases have been known since the patient was an infant or a child.
However, about 25 percent of people with bronchial asthma have their first attack in adulthood.
According to WHO, this disease is the most common disease experienced by children because:
- Parents have a history of this disease.
- Have a respiratory infection, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
- Have certain atopic allergies, such as food allergies or eczema.
- Born with a low birth weight.
- Premature birth. Asthma Definition.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose This Disease?
Asthma can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Your doctor will ask about your medical history (including the type and frequency of symptoms), family medical history, and undergo a physical exam and lung function tests.
Tell your doctor if your next of kin, such as your parents, siblings, and grandparents have had this condition.
Also tell about the symptoms you feel, starting from when and how often you experience them.
During the physical exam, the doctor will listen to your breathing and look for signs of respiratory illness or allergies.
The doctor will then use a spirometry test to check how your lungs are working.
This test measures how quickly and how much air you can inhale and exhale. Asthma Definition.
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If needed, the doctor may also perform a number of other tests, such as:
- Allergy testing to find out which allergens affect you, if any.
- Bronchial test to measure the sensitivity of your airways.
- Tests to show if you have other conditions with the same symptoms as asthma (eg acid reflux, vocal cord abnormalities, or sleep apnea).
- Chest X-ray or EKG (electrocardiogram). This test will help find out if a foreign body or other disease is causing your symptoms. Asthma Definition.
How To Treat Asthma?
This disease cannot be cured. Treatment is given only aims to reduce symptoms and prevent relapse.
Asthma treatment should be discussed between you and your doctor. This is done in order to get effective and maximum treatment results. Asthma Definition.
Here are the treatment options given by the doctor:
- Long-term control drug. If your condition is chronic or persistent, mild to severe, the appropriate treatment for you is long-term therapy. Long-term treatment aims to control the severity of symptoms, and prevent them from recurring on an ongoing basis. Asthma Definition.
- Short term control drug. Short-term treatment is more aimed at relieving acute attacks as soon as they occur. The function of this drug is to help relieve symptoms that just appear and recur from time to time. However, this medicine should not be taken for more than 2 weeks. If you use these medicines for more than 2 weeks, consult a doctor immediately. Your doctor can make changes to your asthma action plan to suit your condition. Asthma Definition.
How To Prevent Recurrence Of Asthma Attacks?
Although it cannot be cured, you can prevent this disease from relapse.
Here are some things you can do to prevent asthma flare-ups, including:
- Create an asthma action plan. Each patient with this condition is recommended to determine a treatment plan with the doctor and other health care team. This is called an asthma action plan. The doctor will help determine the type of medication and treatment that suits your condition. Make sure you follow the treatment plan to prevent recurrence of symptoms.
- Avoid the trigger factors. A person will experience an attack of symptoms when exposed to the trigger. Therefore, identify what things can trigger a recurrence of your symptoms. Some of the most common trigger factors are exposure to irritants from cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals in household products to animal dander and pollen.
- Routinely check lung function. Routinely checking lung function with a peak flow meter can also be a way to prevent recurrence of attacks. Peak flow meter helps measure the amount of air flow in the patient’s breath so that it will facilitate treatment before symptoms worsen. On the other hand, this tool can also help identify triggers so that sufferers can avoid them.
- Take the medicine as recommended by the doctor. When symptoms of asthma appear, immediately take the medicine recommended by the doctor an dand, stop activities that trigger the recurrence of symptoms. If your symptoms do not improve, don’t hesitate to see a doctor immediately. Do not stop treatment without the doctor’s knowledge even if you feel better. Also, make sure you always carry your asthma medication with you where you go, and that you will always consult a doctor. This will make it easier for the doctor to see the effects of the treatment you are taking. Asthma Definition.
- Flu vaccine. Symptoms can recur, triggered by a prolonged cough due to the flu. So, it never hurts to get the flu vaccine. But make sure you consult with your doctor first. Asthma Definition.
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