By Dr. Manav Manchanda, Pulmonology
When the breathing passages of the lungs are affected in some way, an individual may suffer from asthma. It does not develop in a day or two. Chronic inflammation of the passage results in sensitive breathing tubes. Various triggers can aggravate this condition. The triggers can be internal or external factors. When the condition is not treated on time, it results in swelling of the passage walls. As a result, the openings are filled with mucus. Eventually, the affected individuals find it difficult to breathe and end up having an asthma attack.
Can asthma be cured?
Wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath are experienced by the affected individual. It has to be taken into note that asthma is a chronic condition, and when affected, you will have to live with it. It cannot be cured but only controlled. Thanks to the medications, one can bring down the chances of an asthma attack caused by various triggers. It is not yet completely known why people are affected by asthma.
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack is similar to allergic reactions. It is simply a reaction to a trigger. The immune system starts fighting whenever it senses an allergen or a foreign body. This results in inflammation of the airways. A few people are born with the tendency to be affected by asthma. Studies are going on to find the genes that are responsible for this.
Symptoms and triggers: Asthma symptoms may affect a few people because they are sensitive to certain allergens or triggers. You can imagine how the previous generation was exposed to infections and slowly developed immunity, and how the current generation is always under the protective cover. When you are less exposed to the environment, you become very sensitive. Breathing allergy is caused by various substances. The allergens or triggers may include dust, mites, pet hair, pollens, and molds. Pollutants such as tobacco smoke, smoke from vehicles, and other air pollutants can trigger asthma attacks. Some of the other causes include mild to intense exercises, sulfites present in foods, cold air, and stress.
The symptoms of asthma vary among people. In a few individuals, it can stay for long, and in others, it may come and go. During the spring season, the symptoms exacerbate and result in asthma attacks frequently. This is worse in the case of people who suffer from triggers such as mold and pollens. In a few individuals, using perfumes can trigger an asthma attack. In a few women, the menstrual cycle and asthma attack are found to be associated.
Exercise-induced asthma: Asthma that is caused by physical activity or exercise is different from other types of asthma. The airways swell during exercises. Even if you do not have asthma, there are chances that you may experience exercise-induced asthma, EIA in short. When you are exercising, you might feel symptoms such as dizziness, chest tightening, headache, and nausea.
Risk factors: Hay fever and allergies are considered to be the biggest risk factors for asthma. Eczema too can cause asthma. Another risk factor is a genetic predisposition, which means you are at risk when your parents and siblings are diagnosed with asthma. Contact your medical practitioner, when you experience dizziness, wheezing, a persistent cough that worsens at night, and chest tightness.