The progress in medical science has been hailed as one of the major reasons for the decline in the current mortality rate. This progress has wiped out a lot of disease from the face of the earth, and we can’t be grateful enough! However, there are still a plethora of diseases and ailments whose cure is yet to be discovered. Though these diseases are incurable, there are certain ways devised to allow the individual to lead a normal life and coexist with the ailment.
Asthma is one such ailment which cannot be completely cured, but with appropriate medical assistance and preventive measures, the individual suffering from asthma can lead a normal life. Asthma is a condition that can affect people of any age group; it can affect children and adults alike. Understanding the ailment properly helps people adjust to it appropriately. So, keep reading to acquaint yourself with this ailment that can be harmless if controlled, and life-threatening if left undetected.
What is asthma?
- Asthma is a chronic condition that is known to affect around 26 million Americans, children and adults alike. It is a condition that affects the bronchial tubes, which are the airways to the lungs. Asthma causes the tubes to narrow down and leads to inflammation of the same.
- The coughing or the wheezing sound one can hear when the individual breathes in and out is indicative of the struggle for breathing properly.
- As mentioned earlier, asthma can affect anyone irrespective of their age or gender. However, it has been asserted that asthma has its root in an individual’s family history. A person who carries susceptible genes is more prone to asthma than the individual who doesn’t. Also, certain environmental factors are also known to trigger asthma.
- Many times, the symptoms of asthma are often mistaken to be those of a common allergy since the various allergy triggers are also known to trigger asthma. Asthma attacks can be a result of being exposed to certain allergens like mold, pollen, pet dander, or can be certain environmental factors such as air pollution, strong vapor, or odor. Even respiratory illnesses such as sore throats, colds, pneumonia, etc. are known to cause asthma.
Symptoms of asthma
It is common knowledge that before a disease or an ailment manifests itself, certain symptoms surface. When these symptoms are diagnosed at the right time, they prove instrumental in helping the individual to deal with the ailment. The glaring symptoms of asthma are as follows:
- Shortness of breath – Since asthma is a condition characterized by the swelling of bronchial tubes, it becomes difficult for the individual to breathe. This shortness of breath becomes more obvious especially when the individual performed one or the other form of activity.
- Tightness in the chest – Many times, we experience tightness in the chest but brush it aside citing other reasons. If the individual is susceptible to asthma and experiences a tightness in the chest, the person might be suffering from asthma.
- Wheezing sound – As asthma is known to affect the airways, it becomes quite difficult for the individual to breathe. The very process of breathing is accompanied by a wheezing sound, which is indicative of how difficult it is for the person to breathe. The presence of wheezing sound while exhaling is one of the prominent symptoms of asthma in children.
- A persistent cough – A cough that affects the individual for more than 8 weeks is known as a persistent cough. A persistent cough combined with the wheezing sound is never a good news. It’s indicative of underlying asthma that the individual suffers from.
As adults, we are well-equipped to figure out whether we are suffering from a problem or not. The same cannot be said about children. Since asthma affects children on a wide scale, one should immediately visit the doctor if they or their child shows the following symptoms:
- If the child faces difficulty in sleeping due to breathlessness or persistent coughing.
- If the individual can hear wheezing sounds when the child exhales.
- Unusual fatigue accompanied by their hesitation to participate in any physical activities.
- Tightness in the chest or shortness of breath while walking or running.
- A constant cough which is accompanied by recurring instances of viral infections.
If your child shows these symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately.
Also, simply noting the symptoms isn’t enough, you need to detect patterns in the occurrence of the asthma symptoms since this would help your doctor with the diagnosis.
- Does it occur during or after exercise?
- Does the person suffer from asthma attacks after experiencing heightened emotions such as laughing or crying?
- Is the asthma attack triggered by the presence of some allergen?
- Does the asthma attack occur in the morning or at night?
When you or your loved ones suffer from asthma attacks, instead of panicking, the right measures can ensure that you sail through the situation with fatal damages.