What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by inflammation of the airways, bronchospasm. This condition is often long-termed as it has been discovered to have no cure.
Due to its incurableness, one can only avoid the triggers such as irritants and frequent use of steroidal inhalers.
Several studies has suggested that asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as presence of pollen grains and air-borne allergens.
Recently a protein (called CaSR- Calcium Sensing Receptor) was discovered by scientists to be involved in signaling asthma attacks.
Tests has revealed that asthmatics had far higher levels of the protein – called a calcium sensing receptor or CaSR – than healthy people.
When an asthmatic breathes in triggers such as dust, smoke, or pollen, the CaSR molecules cause the rapid increase of calcium within the cells of the lung tissue.
The added calcium makes the cells contract, making the airways spasm, triggering an asthma attack.
Asthma symptoms are very similar to other lung infection diseases’ symptoms such as pneumonia, pneumothorax, emphysema and one of the symptoms of asthma that underscores this similarity is shortness of breath.
Asthma in Children
From statistics, about half a million of children in the UK may be wrongly diagnosed with asthma. Probably because the symptoms they presented are similar to the symptoms of asthma.
So also, Asthma UK has said there are about 1.1 million children also receiving treatment in the UK; Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children while about 7 million children are being affected yearly in the United States.
Risk factor for asthma in children includes but not limited to nasal allergies (also known as hay fever), underweight, exposure to environmental pollution (such as smoke), and recurrent respiratory tract infections.
Signs and symptoms of asthma
Signs of asthma in children includes the following:
- Frequent coughing spells and wheezing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feelings of weakness or tiredness.
- Less energy during play.
Asthma symptoms in adults
Asthma in adult may be classified into 2 classes namely: mild intermittent (this needs no drug for long-term control), mild persistent (symptoms repeat about 2-6 times in a week), moderate persistent (symptoms occur on a daily basis, with mid-night attacks repetitive about 5 times monthly), and severe persistent (symptoms are recurrent continuously with limited daily activities and lung function reduced to about 60%).
Asthma symptoms are similar to those of other lung diseases, however, there are little distinctions traceable to how the symptoms develop, how fast sufferers display the symptoms. First let’s look at some of the symptoms of asthma in adults.
- Chest tightness.
- Loss of breath under prolonged airway obstruction.
- Rapid breathing to forestall oxygen transport.
- Rapid loss of energy.
- Production of large mucus (thicker than normal).
- The airway becomes narrowed.
- Trouble sleeping due persistent cough and chest discomfort.
Asthma symptoms are usually monitored by peak flow meter. This helps to alert you to changes in the airway.
Asthma can only be controlled, it has no cure currently. Recurrent asthmatic attacks may be reduced to the barest minimum by following the following recommendations:
- Take your medications regularly and always stay close to your inhaler, asthma nebulizer. Steroid inhalers and anti-inflammatory medications do help to reduce swellings and inflammation. Bronchodilators also are very helpful, they relax the muscle bands that tightens the airways.
- Avoid allergens and triggers such as fried foods, scented perfumes, smoke, chemical fumes, pollen grains and dusts.
- Visit your doctor regularly for regular evaluation.
Avoid sport or social activities that may trigger the symptoms.