Causes and risk factors
Bronchi are tube shaped structures which transfer the air into the lungs. It has a covering on the inner side of mucosa and smooth muscles. In asthma due to inflammation of the lining mucosa and smooth muscles, there occurs narrowing of the air passage. In addition to this, there is thick tenacious secretion which further causes opposition to airflow leading to increase in work of breathing. Exposure to various allergy causing substances, e.g. pollen grains, animal dander, mites, mold, cockroach particles, Smoking, tobacco chewing, change in atmospheric conditions, and certain non steroidal anti inflammatory drug can trigger asthma. Certain psychological conditions and garstro-esophagal reflux are other contributing factors. People who have a strong genetic tendency for asthma are more prone to develop it. Asthma is one of the occupational diseases hence people working in industries like wood, coal mines, zinc are at higher risk of developing it.
Asthma patients suffer from attacks which are episodic, while rest of the time the patient can be free from symptoms. The important diagnostic symptoms are sudden reoccurrence of cough with thick and sticky sputum, breathing difficulty and continuous, coarse, whistling sound called as wheezes. The frequency and severity vary from patient to patient. At times patient might complaint of breathlessness and sensation of choking.
On auscultation of the chest, a coarse rattling respiratory sound somewhat like snoring can be heard. However in some patients with severe signs and symptoms there may be wheezes which can be audible and bluish discoloration of the skin can also be seen. Severe or untreated asthma can result in perpetual damage to the air passages; it can lead to everlasting narrowing of the bronchi. Recurrent and severe attacks of asthma can hamper the day to day activity also long use of the medicines can cause certain side effects like headache, palpitation, change in gastric bowel movements neurological or psychological complaints like trembling, anxiety and restlessness.
Diagnosis and Investigations:
Apart from the symptoms given by the patient, asthma can be diagnosed with the help of certain tests and physical examination carried out by the doctor.
The physical examination which is conducted by a doctor will show the following signs:
Certain investigations like x ray, allergen test and Elevated levels of immunoglobulin E is diagnostic of allergy. Lung function test along with routine blood test is also recommended.
The primary aim of the treatment is to reduce the severity of the symptoms with minimal administration of certain medications which has less adverse effects which in turn will prevent recurrent occurrence of symptoms and emergency. Second important priority is to maintain the normal functioning of the airways which will enable a patient to live a better quality of life.
The medicines which a doctor can prescribe can either be those which will prevent the occurrence of symptoms or which will relief the symptoms. Anti inflammatory drugs, Bronchodialators, anti cholinergic drugs or systemic corticosteroid can be advised. As the medicines have to be administered in minimal dose and with less adverse effects they are administered through oral route i.e. Inhalation. For this various devices are used like inhalers and nebulizers. Self monitoring is one of the important part of the preventive measure .It can be implemented under the guidance of the doctor.
Things which trigger the asthmatic attack should be avoided or certain measures should be adopted like covering the nose by handkerchief or using masks. In case of smokers who are asthmatic they should avoid smoking or use of strong odor causing materials like perfumes, fragrance stick which will prevent the initiation of the attack.
Adoption of a healthy lifestyle which constitute of good exercise and a balanced diet is an essential measure to be implemented.
Other modes of treatment:
Certain other modes of treatment can also be helpful in coping up the symptom. Taking into consideration the symptoms in holistic way, homoeopathy can offer a good aid for the relief of the symptoms. The Ayurvedic system of medicine which uses herbs and synthetic derivates can also be beneficial in combating the complaints. Certain yoga exercises and pranayam can also be helpful in relieving the reoccurrence and increase the strength of lung functions
According to a study carried out by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) there seems to be association between asthma and a decrease in bone mineral density.