CATEGORY

Asthma

Description

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lung that also narrows breathing passage or airways. The condition commonly causes recurrent episodes of respiratory difficulties or wheezing (slight whistling sound unintentionally produced while breathing). Usually, asthma associated coughing occurs during night or early morning.

Asthma patients have inflamed airways almost always. Trigger of asthma attack often leads the airways to become swollen and surrounding muscles may turn tightened and contracted. This makes respiration problematic.

The condition can affect anyone irrespective of age but is said to commonly onset during childhood. Over 25 million people are diagnosed with asthma in US alone, out of which around 7 million cases are attributed to children. Asthma is said to be slightly more common in African- American population than in the Caucasoid. Prevalence of asthma and its mortality rate in ethnic groups is pertained to factors such as lack of awareness, urban air quality, availability of treatments, etc.

History of Asthma

The term ‘asthma’ is derived from the Greek word ‘ásthma’ which means panting or ‘shortness of breath’. The term was later refined and redefined by Henry Hyde Salter, in late 19th century, as “Paroxysmal dyspnoea of a peculiar character with intervals of healthy respiration between attacks. This definition by the expert describes the disease as narrowing of airways due to smooth muscles contraction. Henry. H. Salter also suggested certain alternative treatments of asthma, for example, black coffee as a drink rich in theobromine. As a matter of fact, Dr. Salter himself was affected with asthma.   

Tracking back in time, asthma is dated to Ancient Egypt era. The medical condition was erstwhile treated by consuming an incense solution called ‘Kyphi’. The earliest record of the term ‘asthma’ is said to be in the book ‘The Corpus Hippocraticum’, written by Hippocrates. Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos (lived from approx. 460 BC to circa 370 BC), was a known ancient Greek physician and is regarded as the ‘founder of medicines’. 

In 1873, an attempt was made to describe pathophysiology of asthma, by the modern medicine. These papers of the modern medical science explained that asthma can also be treated by rubbing chloroform liniment on chest.

Sir William Osler, who is also regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Medicines’ described asthma in his book ‘Principles and Practice of Medicine’, in 1892 for the first time.

During 1930s and 50s asthma was also considered among the “holy seven” psychosomatic diseases. Other six illnesses are, Gastric Ulcer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Atopic dermatitis, essential hypertension, hyperthyroidism and ulcerative colitis or Chrohn’s disease.

  • Facts and Figures of Asthma

  • Types of asthma

  • Age specific Asthma types:

  • Symptoms of Asthma:

  • Diagnosis of Asthma

  • Prevention and Care tips

  • Diet Tips for Asthma

  • Treatment Options for Asthma

  • Asthma Research and News

  • Asthma Myths and Facts

  • Asthma FAQs

Prevalence:

  • Approximately 25 million people in America are diagnosed with asthma and its prevalence-rate has increased since 1980s.
  • It is considered as the most common chronic issue in children.
  • It is common in adult females as compared to adult male.
  • Male children are more vulnerable to the disease than female children.

Morbidity:

  • 1.75 million emergency-room visits to hospitals are attributed to asthma in United State.
  • 479,000 hospitalizations were due to asthma cases with average stay (LOS) of 4.3 days.
  • Around 44% hospitalizations were for children.
  • Asthma is ranked as 3rd leading cause of hospitalization.
  • African Americans are 3 times more vulnerable to hospitalization due to asthma.

Mortality:

  • Everyday around 9 American die of asthma. There are over 3,300 deaths attributed to asthma every year, most of which are preventable through appropriate treatment.
  • The mortality rate of asthma has increased since 1980s by approx 50%. Death rate in individuals ageing below 19 years has increased by around 80%.
  • Women account for about 65% cases of death due to asthma.’

  • Allergic Asthma: Allergic Asthma is a type of asthma that onsets due to allergic reaction against certain trigger. There are various triggers that can flare-up allergic asthma such as pollens, molds, pet’s dander, etc; however, list of triggers can be endless and different individual may be sensitive to different allergens. This is considered as the most common type of asthma among affected children. As 90% affected children and 50% afflicted adults suffer from allergic asthma. This makes the condition the most common kind of asthma recorded in the medical industry. It is crucial that affected individuals understand their allergy and asthma triggers and try to prevent it.
  • Exercise Induced asthma:This type of asthma is triggered due to physical exertions as experienced during exercising. People affected with this condition often experience some degree of asthmatic symptoms while exercising. However, medical industry has recorded cases wherein people void of ‘exercise-induced asthma’ also experience some of its symptoms while performing strenuous physical activities. It is discovered that symptoms of this condition peaks around 20 minutes after onset of exercising session. Sometimes doctor may suggest using bronchodilator to prevent complications while exercising.
  • Cough-Variant Asthma:Severe coughing is the most common symptom of cough-variant asthma. In this case the affected individual may suffer from dry cough which may not expel any mucus. Patients with this condition may not have other conventional asthma symptoms. Cough-variant asthma is also sometimes called as chronic-cough, referring to coughs that are persistent for over six months.
  • Occupational Asthma:In this type of asthma a certain substance at workplace triggers the attack. Medical industry has segregated two types of occupational asthma. First type is a condition wherein the allergen causes immune system to react and cause symptoms while in the second condition the allergens may directly cause asthmatic symptoms. ‘Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome’ or RADS is one of the severe forms of irritant induced occupational asthma.
  • Nocturnal Asthma:Nocturnal Asthma is also commonly referred to as ‘Night-Time Asthma’. Episodes of this type of asthma usually occur during night and may get controlled during the day. Factors that may cause asthma symptoms to trigger at night include biological changes, temperature fluctuations in body, allergens, gastroesophageal reflux, etc.
  • Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD): AERD is also referred to as ‘Aspirin Sensitive Asthma’. This type of asthma is triggered due to use of aspirin. This condition is in fact a combination of Asthma, Chronic Rhinosinusitis along with nasal polyps, and reaction to aspirin or anti- COX-1 NSAIDs. When people with this type of asthma take aspirin, they suffer from sneezing, clogged nose, etc, which may lead to respiratory issues and wheezing.

  • Child Onset Asthma: As the name indicates, this condition is a type of asthma that onsets during childhood. Such condition occurs when a child develops sensitivity to certain allergens. Genetic predisposition commonly plays a role in occurrence of child onset asthma. Sometimes the symptoms that occur may be genetically determined, making the condition atopic.
  • Adult Onset asthma:This term is used to refer to asthma which is developed after the age of 20 years. Adult Onset asthma is more common among females than males. Sensitivity to allergens also plays a role in occurrence of this type of condition. However, there is also a type of Adult Onset asthma, which may not be related to allergies and this type is called Intrinsic Asthma.

Asthma is a condition which is characterized with bronchial tube inflammation with superfluous production of mucus inside the tube. Symptoms of asthma occur due to several changes in the body such as tightening of airways, inflammation and accumulation of mucus. Common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest, etc. Not all people experience same set of symptoms. The symptoms experienced by people affected with the condition may be different or may trigger at different time. Also, intensity of experienced complications may be dissimilar and may range from mild to severe.

Early symptoms of asthma
Early symptoms of asthma are complications that occur before or at the beginning of asthma attack. These symptoms may prevail before the traditional symptoms of asthma begin. These early signs are not often serious and does not hinder with daily activities. However, by understanding these complications one can prevent asthma from aggravating. Some of such early indications include:

  • Frequent coughing, mostly at night
  • Shortness of breath or even losing breath sometimes
  • Feeling exhausted easily while exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing rigorously after exercising
  • Feeling grouchy or having mood swings easily
  • Affected lung functioning
  • Common signs of allergies or cold
  • Sleeping difficulties

If you suffer from any of the aforementioned signs then take assistance from your doctor and avoid possibilities of health adversity.

Asthma attacks are disturbing episodes wherein muscle- bands that surrounds the breathing-passage become tightened. This tightening of muscles is technically referred to as ‘bronchospasm’. Some of the common symptoms experienced during asthma attacks include:

  • Severe wheezing while inhaling and exhaling
  • Incessant consistent coughing
  • Increased rate of respiration
  • Tightened neck muscles and chest muscles due to retraction
  • Troubled speech
  • Anxiousness and panic
  • Paled face with sweating
  • Bluish fingernail and lips 

Severity of such asthma attacks may aggravate quickly so it is essential to treat these symptoms of asthma timely once they are experienced. If immediate aid such as inhalers or bronchodilator are not obtained then the condition may aggravate, sometimes even to fatal level. If no aid is available, one should call for emergency help unit in case if asthma attacks are experienced.  

Asthma symptoms in Children:
It is estimated that around 10% to 12% of the entire minor population in United States suffer from asthma. The reports of Child-Onset asthma are increasing over years and there is no rational reason for such a dramatic hike. Though the symptoms of the condition can show-up at any age, most affected children experience the first symptom of asthma at the age of 5 years. Not all children affected with asthma experience wheezing. The only obvious sign of the condition in children may be chronic cough; underlying asthma may go undetected if cough is associated with bronchitis.

Unusual symptoms of asthma:
Not every asthma patient have same usual symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath or coughs. Sometimes, people may also experience strange symptoms which are not common in case of asthma. Some of such unusual complications include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Suspiring
  • Tiredness
  • Hindered concentration

These symptoms are also indications of other health complications such as vocal cord malfunction, bronchitis, heart failure, etc. Hence, irrespective of the cause of the condition, it is crucial to consult your doctor, get diagnosed and seek medical treatment accordingly.

Causes of asthma:
When asthma gets triggered leading to asthmatic episode or attack, muscles surrounding the airway inflames and tumefies. This along with superfluous amount of mucus causes narrowing of the breathing passage. This causes various symptoms of the condition.

The exact cause of asthma is not yet discovered. The only thing confirmedly determined in case of asthma is that it is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with airways. It is said that, cause of asthma may differ from person to person, but inflammation of airways, tightening of surrounding muscle- band and accumulation of mucus are common occurrence of the medical anomaly. Doctors hypothetically blame environmental factors and genetic predispositions for affliction of asthma. However, experts have determined certain triggers that may cause episodes of asthma to occur. Some of these triggers are explained here.

  • Allergens present in air such as pollen, dander on pets, mold, dust-mites, roaches
  • Allergic reaction to food likes shellfish, peanuts, etc
  • Infection of respiratory system such as cold
  • Exertion due to physical activities
  • Cold temperature or cold air
  • Pollutants present in air
  • Medications such as ibuprofen, beta-blocker, aspirin etc
  • Psychological influence such as stress or strong emotions
  • Sensitivity to preservatives or sulfite present in certain foods and beverages
  • GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • In some women menstruation may also trigger asthma

Remember that not all affected individuals may have sensitivity to same triggers that may lead to asthma. The cause and trigger of asthma in individuals may differ drastically.

Asthma generally can be diagnosed by your doctor through typical asthma symptoms. Doctor’s usually suggest further diagnosis to ensure the existence of the disorder. There is a range of diagnosing techniques that can confirm underlying asthma issue.

  • Spirometry: Spirometry is also commonly known as breathing test; this test actually measures the breath. It is the most common type of diagnosis in PFTs or Pulmonary Function Tests range. The method helps in assessing the functioning of your lungs. Spirometry is performed using as device called spirometer. This device measures the amount of air one can breathe out in one second and the overall amount of exhalation. During the test, spirometer will be placed in your mouth asking you to exhale forcefully; you may be asked to exhale for a few more times to obtain a consistent measure. Sometimes test is done twice, one before taking a certain medicine (reliever inhaler) and after the administration of the drug.
  • Peak Expiratory Flow:Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) also known as Peak Expiratory Flow Rate test (PERF) is another diagnosing method that can be used to evaluate existence of asthma. In this test a small hand-held machine called Peak Flow Meter is used to evaluate the speed of air- exhalation from lung in a single breathe. Sometimes patients are asked to keep a peak flow meter at home and maintain a track of peak flow measurements. Doctors may also ask you to record any experienced symptoms along with PEF reading.

Other Asthma tests:
Some people may require more tests, but this is not applicable for all asthma patients. Additional tests may help in confirming diagnosis of the condition and rule out other possibilities. Some of such tests are as follows:

  • Airways responsive test:This diagnosing technique is done to evaluate the behavior of your airway when exposed to a trigger. Patients under the test are asked to take-on mannitol challenge which includes inhaling an increasing quantity of certain dry powder. This triggers asthma symptoms which is in fact a deliberated consequence. In case of children undergoing this test, exercises are used as trigger to provoke symptoms. The patients are then asked to exhale into the spirometer to check for FEV1 and FVC anomalies in response to the trigger. In this test dramatic decrease in measurement indicate asthma. 
  • Airway inflammation test:Phlegm sample is taken to send for laboratory testing in order to determine inflammation of airway if any. Another technique used for testing inflammation of airways involves measuring the amount of nitric oxide. Increased amount of nitric oxide in the body may indicate prevalence of asthma.Allergy test:

Several tests such as skin test and blood test can help in determining whether experienced asthma symptoms are pertained to allergic reactions. They may also help in determining allergies to specific triggers such as pollen, foods, dander from animal or dust mite, etc.   

Though asthma attacks can be debilitating at times, they are quite evitable through appropriate prevention techniques. There are several preventive methods that can avert episodes of asthma attacks; some of these techniques include:

  • Avoiding Dust:Dust is one of the most common triggers of asthma; hence, one should try to keep the house dust free by regular vacuuming and cleaning. Use a vacuum pump that is integrated with potent filter to trap dust. It is also crucial to wipe away dust from furniture and other objects.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke:One should make strict rules to ban indoor smoking or avoid smoke completely. If anyone in the house is habituated to smoking, especially indoors then ask them to stop.
  • Clean away Molds:Molds are also among the causes of asthma; hence, one should ensure that there are no molds in the house or around the house. This is because as molds grow they tend to become airborne which can reach the susceptible individual and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Avoid exposure to pollen:
    Pollens are considered as one of the most common triggers of asthma attacks. Pollens are fine powder that contains micro-gametophytes from seed plants. These allergens are commonly found in plants and grasses. During summer and generally warmer climate the amount of pollen in air is the highest. Hence, one should try to stay indoors or wear mask if being out in the field is necessary.
  • Limit or completely avoid contact with pets:Asthma is also attributed to animal dander which can be found on your pet as well. If you are sensitive to animal dander which may also trigger asthma then follow precaution and avoid contact with your pet and other animals as far as possible.
  • Avert certain foods or smell of its preparation:Records also indicate that asthma can be triggered due to certain foods and also by the smoke and aroma released while cooking. Thus, one should ensure that a proper exhaust or extraction fan is installed in the cooking zone to ward-off as much smoke as possible. If extraction fan is not available ensure to have kitchen windows completely open.
  • Maintain a Healthy lifestyle:Healthy lifestyle is the key to better living and happy life. A healthy lifestyle involves combination of certain factors such as diet, exercises, happy mind-set and necessary care. Regular exercises along with diet can help in having a health body with no or less physical anomalies. Diet is particularly important as our body is said to portray the diet we follow. Good diet maintains good body and vice-versa. Asthma patients particularly need to follow a healthy diet void of foods that can trigger the symptoms. Psychological stability is said to have influence on physical health as well. Certain psychological mechanism triggers secretion of biological chemicals which influence physical aspects. Hence, having health mental state can enhance your living. Also if one is already affected with any health issues then follow medical regimen as prescribed by the doctor.

Asthma can be significantly controlled by introducing healthy changes in your diet plan. Healthy diet is important for heaving a healthy lifestyle. Reports indicate that following a planned diet can reduce frequency and intensity of asthma attacks; thus it is suggested for all patients.  

  • Antioxidants :Free radicals in asthmatic individuals are said to be higher. Moreover, the amount of antioxidants in the body is lowered. Patients are suggested to have 5 servings of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables or fruits such as cantaloupe, etc, on daily basis. These items can supply approx 8 mg of beta-carotene daily. Experts recommend around 3 mg to 6 mg this substance on every-day basis. Bear in mind that beta-carotene can increase risk of lung cancer in people who smoke; hence, consult your doctor before using its supplements.

    Another study indicates the use of lycopene is beneficial in reducing the intensity of asthma attacks. Daily recommended value of lycopene is between 2 mg to 30 mg daily. Using 30 mg lycopene on daily basis can reduce severity of asthma attack episodes. Lycopene in natural form can be obtained through watermelon (approx 3 cups) and tomatoes (one medium tomato contains around 3 mg of lycopene).

  • Vitamin C:Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) displayed some beneficial properties against asthma. This substance is present in fruits such as oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries and vegetables such as, bell pepper and broccoli, etc. A study conducted in Yale University discovered that 500 mg of Vitamin C if used for two consecutive days can decrease shortness of breath as well as wheezing, post workout. It is assumed that the substance can provide such an effect by enhancing the rate of histamine metabolism. It is estimated that around 10% of the entire population is deficient in Vitamin C. Rich source of Vitamin C is bell pepper which supplies the nutrient in more amount than citrus fruits. Remember that it is beneficial to consume vitamin E along with vitamin C as they protect each other and effects are better.
  • Fish oil:Another study indicated that using omega-3 can enhance lung functioning. University of Indiana published a report of the study wherein subjects were given omega-3 supplements for three weeks on everyday basis. Volunteers who were treated with fish oil supplements containing omega-3 displayed better lung functioning as compared to the placebo group. Omega-3’s ability to decrease inflammation is accredited for eased breathing in subjects. Sources that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid include mackerel, salmon and tuna. If suitable, doctors may also recommend fish-oil supplements.
  • Caffeine: Consuming around 3 cups of strong coffee before exercising can help a 150 pound man to breathe better after exercising, according to Tel-Aviv University. Caffeine is regarded as a muscle relaxant which can dilate your breathing passage as well as countervail natural tendency of contraction in asthma affected lungs. 
  • Vitamin B6:Including Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine acid can be helpful if you are following an anti-asthma diet. It is discovered through several studies that pyridoxine can decrease the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. This substance is present in a wide range of foods, but banana is recognized as a rich source of Vitamin B6.
  • Quercetin:Quercetin is a bioflavonoid which contains effective anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and anti-oxidant properties. These properties of the substance have shown to relief asthma and allergy symptoms. Source rich in Quercetin includes apples, onions, broccoli, cherries, red grapes, tea, red wine, cranberries, raspberries, etc, 
  • Rosmarinic acid:Rosmarinic acid is another helpful substance that contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. This may aid in alleviating symptoms of asthma. This acid is believed to be stronger than Vitamin E and can help in dilating air passages of lung making respiration easy. Rosmarinic acid is found in several culinary items such as rosemary, marjoram, oregano, lemon balm, sage and thyme.
  • Avoid Salt, Additives and Preservatives:

It is studied that consuming salt in excessive amount can aggravate the severity of asthma symptoms as salt makes airways reactive to allergens. Surveys indicate that areas with high salt rate consumption also have higher rate of asthma cases. Ingesting salt in surplus amount can rid potassium and other minerals of the body which are said to be helpful in enhancing lung functioning. Hence asthma patients should cut back on salt significantly.

Additives and preservatives can trigger asthma in some people as recorded during researches. Some of such substances that may trigger asthma include tartrazine, sulfites, benzoates, etc.

Since asthma is in existence from ancient times, there are also ancient beliefs in regards with medicines for asthma. Ironically, highly disgusted substances such as tobacco or cannabis were considered life-saving treatments for asthma attacks. Fortunately, advancement of medical science provided that community with better treatment options of asthma.

To your information asthma cannot be cured completely; however, treatment of the condition is focused on controlling, stopping or preventing asthma attacks. Most people affected with the disease may be suggested a combination of drugs and the type of medications prescribed may differ greatly. A competent asthma treatment can only be obtained through a certified doctor.    

Types of medications suggested for asthma:
There are basically two main categories of medicine often prescribed by doctors for treating asthma. These are anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators, which are explained below with other medicines.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs:

Most patient with the condition are suggested anti-inflammatory medicines which are considered to be an important medical regimen in people affected with asthma. These drugs can competently reduce protrusion and production of mucus in the air-passage. It makes airways dilated and less sensitive against triggers. Medical regimen based on anti-inflammatory medicines should be continued for several weeks before the drugs start showing effect. These drugs make breathing easier, reduces symptoms of asthma and its intensity. Anti-Inflammatory medicines should be used daily as suggested by the doctor.   

There are direct anti- inflammatory drugs that include corticosteroids which are taken through inhalation or orally. In asthmatic patients, inhaled corticosteroid works efficiently in reducing inflammation of breathing passage. This category of medicine can decrease the number of symptoms and weakens the intensity of the symptoms. Results of inhaled corticosteroids can be experienced in 1 to 3 weeks.

Oral or intravenous form of corticosteroid is a medicine often prescribed to relief symptoms of the condition. These drugs are usually used with other asthma controlling medicines that reduces recurrent episode of attacks.

  • Bronchodilators:

Bronchodilators are medicine that relaxes muscle-band surround the airway. There are two sub-categories of bronchodilator medicines which are beta2- agonist and Anticholinergics. Both of these subcategories of bronchodilators are present in two forms, short-acting and long-acting. Short acting form can be used to relieve symptoms of asthma quickly while the long-acting form helps in controlling the condition and not for relieving symptoms.   

  • Mast cell stabilizing medicines:

These remedies are present in inhaler form. Mast cell stabilizers have the potency to prevent symptoms of asthma and needs around 4 weeks to start working. The medicine is often prescribed 2 to 3 times daily, but one should consider doctor’s suggestion for personalized dosage routine. Sometimes doctor may recommend using the drug half an hour before exercising to prevent complications of exercise- induced asthma.  

  • Leukotriene modifier:

Leukotrienes are natural biological chemical present in the body which causes tightening of muscles in the airways. These may also enhance the production of mucus. Leukotriene modifier medicine blocks the action of Leukotrienes which help in improving airflow through airways.   

  • Theophylline:

Theophylline is an oral medication that has a lasting mechanism in the body and avoids episodes of asthma. This medicine is suggested in cases wherein asthma is difficult to control. Patients on medical regimen with theophylline are suggested to undergo blood test at timely intervals and does of the medicine must not be missed. 

  • Anti- IgE treatment method:

This is latest introduction to the spectrum of asthma medications. This drug is suggested for patients with moderate to severe form of asthma with indication of possible allergies. Allergic asthma is common and is attributed to around 60% of all recorded cases of asthma. This medicine has dual functioning with properties that control as well as relieve asthma symptoms

  • Dietary Fiber can prevent asthma:

There are numerous researches being conducted, day in and day out on, asthma and its aspects. Various medical bodies and other institutes also fund researches for bettering the prognosis of the condition. According to a recent study it is assumed that dietary fiber may be helpful in preventing asthma attacks. The research was conducted at University of Lausanne in Switzerland and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. This was an in-vivo study done on mice. The objective of the research was to evaluate role of dietary fiber in gut and lung inflammation in mice. This study indicated that dietary soluble-fiber may be positively influential on the airways as it can reduce inflammation.

  • Asthma treatment for obese individuals:
    Another study performed at Boston Children’s Hospital discovered that obesity may be associated with asthma through several aspects of immune system. It also paved way for possible treatment that can be adopted for treating asthma in obese individuals. This research was done on mice as subject.

There are several texts that hint about the link between obesity and asthma; but since there is no literature that specifically discuses reason for this link, the treatment is difficult. This research also found an inflammatory metabolic pathway to asthma which was not discovered earlier. Further continuation of the study would help in determining an effective treatment for the condition.       

  • Natural Killer Cell may cause asthma:
    According to recent news, a study conducted at Imperial College London discovered that Natural Killer Cells, which are known for eradicating cancerous and infectious cells, may be contributing factor for asthma. The research was funded by MRC & Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma in corporation with Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council. The study was an in-vivo experiment performed on mice. Further declarations are awaited.  

  • Myth: Asthma is a Psychological Issue
    Fact: Asthma is not an emotional anomaly but it is purely a physical condition associated with the lung and airways. It is triggered due to biochemical alterations in the body caused due to various internal and external triggers. 
  • Myth: Asthma drugs cause dependency
    Fact: This notion perhaps aroused due to affected individual using asthma medicines constantly. Since, asthma is a chronic physical disorder by nature, it is essential for patients to constantly use medicine to prevent asthma attacks and deal with them.
  • Myth: Asthma affected children should not be allowed to play with other children
    Fact:
    Asthma affected children can mingle with other people including children. This condition is not contagious; hence, cannot be transmitted, however the affected child may need medical aid while playing in case exhaustion causes asthma symptoms. 
  • Myth: Asthma patients should restrict from exercising
    Fact:
    Affected individual can perform physical exercise but not too rigorous as it may possibly trigger symptoms. Consulting a doctor would be beneficial as he may suggest medications that may help you perform exercises despite having asthma. In fact, chances are there that exercises may enhance lung functioning.  
  • Myth: No flu shots for asthma patients
    Fact: Asthmatic people should go for flu vaccines on annual basis as suggested by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • Myth: Asthma is curable
    Fact: Asthma is not curable as of yet as there is no treatment that can completely cure asthma. However, medicines can help in controlling and preventing symptoms asthma to a significant extent.    
  • Myth: Children will outgrow asthma
    Fact: Asthma is a chronic condition of lung. In this condition, the lungs may react with certain triggers naturally. This reaction to triggers may never disappear however the intensity of the reaction may become decreased with enhancing functionality of a growing lung.
  • Myth: Inhaled steroids can be unfavorable for children
    Fact: It is commonly misbelieved that inhaled steroids can affect a child by ceasing his growth and make him shorter. These drugs do affect the pace of growth of the child but their influence on the final adult height is not proven. 
  • Myth: All asthma patients suffer from symptoms after exercising
    Fact: Not everyone affected with asthma necessarily suffer from Exercise- Induced Asthma (EIA). Though, exercising is one of the triggers of asthma, it is only recorded in people who suffer from EIA.
  • Myth: Asthma is a lung disease and is only restricted to lungs
    Fact: Asthma can be a systemic disease as it also has a systemic inflammatory component. However, commonly the symptoms are associated with lungs and airways. Thus, it is essential that the treatment also targets regions beyond lungs.
  • Myth: Asthma medications should be taken only in case of attack
    Fact: Use of asthma medicines is best suggested by a doctor depending on the type and severity of the condition. Taking controller medicine consistently can help in alleviating the condition by decreasing attack- frequency and intensity of symptoms. However, in some benign and mild cases doctor may suggest episodic use of the medicine.  
  • Myth: Smoking is not a trigger for asthma
    Fact:
    Studies indicate that smoking is equivalently an asthma trigger as food or animal dander is. In fact it is also discovered that children born to smoking- mothers are at increased risk of suffering from asthma that is triggered by smoke (from tobacco).
  • Myth: Avoiding milk and wheat alleviate asthma
    Fact: Diet is crucial for not merely general healthiness but also for managing chronic conditions such as asthma. Avoiding foods such as wheat and milk may void some nutrients from your daily nutrition dose. According to a study issued in Thorax medical general, butter milk and full- fat milk may be beneficial in preventing asthma. The study was conducted on three thousand, 3 years old babies. It was determined that children who consumed more dairy products were at 4 times lesser risk of developing asthma.   
  • Myth: Asthma is only developed during childhood
    Fact: Asthma can actually develop at any age, even in people above 60 years. In fact, there is a categorized section for asthma that develops in adulthood which is called as Adult-Onset Asthma. There can be several triggers that may cause this condition, while other causes would include obesity, respiratory infection, fluctuation of hormones, sensitivity to chemicals and smells.
  • Myth: Nebulizers are the best medication for asthma
    Fact: Nebulizers are good way of handling asthma but they cannot be considered as the only best way of treatment. Puffer and spacer are also considered optimal in many ways. Puffer and spacer are handier, easy to use and can be used even during asthma attacks. There are also direct inhaler-pumps that can be used during an attack.

  • Is asthma contagious?
    Asthma is not a contagious medical condition; it cannot be transmitter from one person to another, but there are possibilities of genetic predisposition that is passed from parents to child.   
  • How asthma can be prevented?
    There are various ways to prevent asthma. First of all if it is allergic asthma then you should know your triggers. Ensure you stay in a clean and dust free environment with no or scanty existence of animal dander. You should also take your medicines as suggested by your doctor to prevent asthma attacks.
  • How does an asthma attack feel?
    During asthma attack, affected person may feel like inhaling very cold air deep inside the lung. Breathing may become difficult and painful. While breathing the affected person may make whistling sound unintentionally.  
  • Who is at risk of asthma?
    • Asthma can be genetic and tend to run in families.
    • Children who suffer from food allergy or eczema may also develop asthma.
    • People with allergy to pollen, dust-mite, animal dander, certain foods, etc are also at increased risk of developing asthma.
  • Why asthma aggravates when pain medicines used?
    Sometimes people using such medicine may be sensitive to its content such as aspirin and other drugs. This may trigger asthma symptoms. If you have asthma attacks after taking pain medications then inform your doctor immediately and cease use of these medicines.
  • What are bronchodilator side-effects?
    Not all people suffer from side-effects by using bronchodilator medicines. However, there are some common side effects including increased heartbeat, shudder, headache and nervousness.    
  • Can asthma medicines affect baby during pregnancy?
    If a woman is affected with asthma and is planning to become pregnant, it is crucial that her asthma is controlled well even before conceiving. The issue should be discussed with the doctor and ask about appropriate medicines which may be suitable for the unborn baby.   
  • What to do if asthma attack is experienced?
    If a person experiences asthma attack he should immediately reach out for prescribed medicines or inhaler. If it is the first-ever asthmatic episode then go for immediate medical support or call emergency help unit such as 911.
  • Are all coughing or wheezing asthma symptoms?
    No, not all incidences of coughs and wheezing are associated with asthma. There are other conditions that can mimic asthma through such symptoms. However, a doctor can certainly determine whether these symptoms are associated to asthma or other underlying issues.
  • Are medicines of asthma addictive?
  • It is wrongly believed that asthma medicines can develop dependency. Drugs prescribed for the condition are not at all addictive.

  • Do asthma drugs turn less efficacious if taken in long term?
    Asthma medicines do not become less efficacious due to consistent long term use. However, if a person experiences changes in symptoms, which may perhaps lead to the later notion then doctor may adjust the doses of the medicine.
  • Is there any cure for asthma?
    Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for asthma as of yet; however, treatment can help in controlling and preventing asthma symptoms which can make big difference in life of affected person and improve ability to perform daily activities.
  • Can asthma be present throughout the lifetime?
    Generally asthma is a chronic condition which does not ebb away on its own. However, frequency of asthma attack may get significantly reduced or ceased for a long time. But the attack may get simulated sometimes due to exposure to trigger. Appropriate treatment may reduce the frequency of asthma attack and its intensity.
  • Can allergy-shot help in preventing asthma?
    Allergy shots against triggers such as pollen or grasses may be helpful. However, taking vaccines against other triggers may not be beneficial if you have internal triggers or sensitivity to allergens irrelevant to the vaccine.
  • How to know your allergies?
    Consult a doctor first of all, if you suspect you are affected with asthma. He will suggest tests such as skin or blood test which will detect your allergies. He may also suggest other tests that will help in specifically identifying items against which you have sensitivity.

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