Asthma is an intermittent narrowing of breathing channels that causes lack of air and wheezing of the lungs. Asthma attacks and their intensity are changing. In some people, the attacks are rare and mild, while others can experience them every day. Therefore, the attack can be neither foreseen nor its intensity and duration. Severe attacks can be life-threatening, if untreated.
During an attack, bronchial walls b, which leads to narrowing thereof. There is an inflammation and swelling of the airways, more mucus is produces, which can block the small respiratory pathways.
Asthma can develop at any age, but it is more common in children and young women.
The symptoms of asthma may develop gradually. When an asthma attack occurs, the symptoms are:
- wheezing in the lungs
- painless contraction of the chest
- lack of air
- difficulty breathing
- dra and persistent cough
The symptoms can get worse at night or early morning.
The main difference between asthma and other diseases of the airways is the changeability of the symptoms. If asthma worsens, the symptoms are:
- almost silent whizzing of the lungs because very little air passes in the airways
- inability to complete a sentence due to lack of air
- blue lips, tongue, fingers and toes due to lack of oxygen
The cause of asthma is not quite clear, although genetic and environmental factors in combination seem to play a role. In some persons, allergic reactions cause asthma attacks. This allergic type of asthma is typical for children, accompanied by eczema or hayfever. This is usually genetic.
Other triggers are:
- dust mites
- animal dander
- milk, eggs, wheat, nuts
- anti-inflammatory medications
- cold air
- stress or anxiety
- air pollution
- respiratory infections
- substances inhaled at workplace, causing so-called professional asthma
The risk factors for asthma include:
- genetic factors
- existing allergic condition, such as hayfever
- exposure to pollution, chemicals, allergens
Complications from asthma refer mainly to interference of normal daily activities. Asthma attacks may interfere with sleep; more hospital visits may be necessary; long-term medications can have side effects.
Prevention of asthma is directed towards prevention of possible asthma attacks in future, because there is no way to prevent asthma. These measures include:
- immunization for pneumonia or influenza
- regular use of the prescribed medication
- avoid the asthma triggers