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Asthma: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Medication

Asthma is when a person’s airways narrow, leading to subsequent swelling and production of extra mucus. This not only makes breathing harder but also can lead to coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. While for most Asthma is a small nuisance, for others it can cause serious problems and even fatally so.


 

Types and Causes

Asthma is both allergic and non-allergic. While allergic asthma occurs mostly in childhood, often seasonally, and fades away into adulthood, non-allergic asthma develops usually after 30; it is harder to treat and its Symptoms recur throughout the year.

Asthma occurs because of a mix of environmental and genetic factors. Being exposed to a number of irritants and allergens sometimes triggers signs and symptoms of asthma but asthma triggers vary from one person to another. For some it might be pollen, smoke and mold spores while for others it may be dust, air pollutants and pet dander. Some respiratory infections like cold, excessive physical activity and stress may also lead to asthma. Medical factors such as a history of atopic disease may also contribute to asthma.

Symptoms

Asthma can be most commonly characterized by recurrent episodes of wheezing, tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing and shortness in breath. There may also be Sputum production while coughing but it is usually hard to bring up. Symptoms are usually the worst during late nights, early mornings or when exposed to cold air and intense exercise.

Treatment and Medication

The two main ways to treat asthma are modification of lifestyle and the usage of medications. While asthma can’t be cured, it is possible to improve its symptoms if proactive monitoring and management is done. While one must definitely reduce exposure to allergens and use medications, the best Treatment is to identify triggers and to eliminate exposure to them. If avoiding triggers isn’t sufficient, medication should be used.

Medications used for asthma treatment can be classified as quick relief and long-term control medications. Short-term quick relief medicines include beta2-adrenoceptor agonists (SABA) like salbutamol which act as the first line of treatment while Anticholinergic medications, such as ipratropium bromide having additional advantage when used along with SABA. One can also use Anticholinergic bronchodilators if there is intolerance towards SABA.

For long-term treatment, Corticosteroids are usually the most effective form. Inhaled forms of medication such as beclomethasone are also commonly used. It is recommended to take the inhaled forms once or twice a day, depending on how severe the symptoms are. Other medications such as Long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists and Leukotriene receptor antagonists are also used along with others. Some other methods of asthma treatment include Magnesium sulfate intravenous treatment, Heliox and Omalizumab are also used.

While the severity asthma can be different with varying severity symptoms, they can be controlled using proper medications and early proactive involvement.

Disclaimer: The information in no way constitutes, or should be construed as medical advice. Nor is the above article an endorsement of any research findings discussed in the article an endorsement for any of the source publications.

References:

  1. Asthma Wikipedia
  2. Asthma
  3. Asthma- Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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