Your Body Wants To Maintain A Certain Normal
When you are outside and its raining, your body does a few things. First, a sensor detects whats going on in the world around you. When its raining, your sensor is your skin, and your skin tells your brain that its wet and cold out. Then, an internal mechanism reacts to that stimulus; in this case, your brain helps raise your skin temperature by burning fat stores and calories youve consumed that day to help keep your body as warm as possible. When you are shivering, its actually a way for your body to warm itself up and increase circulation in order to keep your temperature high. In asthma the homeostasis of the smooth muscle in your lungs is interrupted when you are exposed to irritants such as dust or tobacco smoke or allergens such as pollen and symptoms can occur such as:
Once its stopped raining, your brain stops raising your body temperature with a negative feedback mechanism as a response to the fact that your body isnt experiencing the same stimuli. You stop shivering as soon as you arent as cold. And while some of those words and terms above might seem confusing, the way that all of it works is pretty straightforward. And its a perfect example of homeostasis. In asthma, it may take a rescue inhaler to revert the changes back or you may need to take a regular controller medication to try to keep homeostasis in balance.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan
Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.
The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.
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Who Strategy For Prevention And Control Of Asthma
Asthma is included in the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
WHO is taking action to extend diagnosis of and treatment for asthma in a number of ways.
The WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions was developed to help improve NCD management in primary health care in low-resource settings. PEN includes protocols for the assessment, diagnosis, and management of chronic respiratory diseases , and modules on healthy lifestyle counselling, including tobacco cessation, and self-care.
Reducing tobacco smoke exposure is important for both primary prevention of asthma and disease management. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is enabling progress in this area as are WHO initiatives such as MPOWER and mTobacco Cessation.
What Happens To The Body In A Person Diagnosed With Asthma
The underlying mechanism of asthma is usually a chronic inflammation of the airways, which is exacerbated by triggers .
Airway Hyperresponsiveness describes the predisposition for the airways to respond to triggers in an exaggerated and reactive way. It involves an increased sensitivity to triggers as well as an excessive constriction of the airways when exposed to them .
When exposed to triggers, the airways undergo physical changes that result in intermittent airway narrowing. These are:
- Bronchoconstriction: The smooth muscle in the wall of the airways contracts, becoming tighter and narrower. This muscle contracts more easily and strongly in people with asthma.
- Inflammation and swelling of the airway walls, reducing space.
- Excessive mucus production, which blocks the inside of the airways.
There is no single reliable test to diagnose asthma. Diagnosis is based on the individuals history, physical examination, considering other diagnoses and noting variable airflow limitation. Spirometry is the recommended method for confirming the diagnosis, assessing severity and monitoring asthma .
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Does Asthma Affect The Respiratory Membrane
Our results show that in patients with stable asthma, there is an increased plasma exudation into the airways, most likely caused by an increased respiratory membrane permeability. The plasma exudation correlated with the bronchial hyperreactivity to histamine, and it decreased after corticosteroid therapy.
Can Asthma Be Cured
Asthma is chronic and incurable, but can be controlled well with medications and lifestyle changes to avoid asthma triggers. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to reduce inflammation, relieve bronchospasms and prevent permanent damage to the airways and lungs.
Treatment can reduce the intensity and frequency of asthma attacks sufficiently for most people to live a normal and fulfilling life, including elite athletes who undertake intense physical activity.;
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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
Asthma And Your Respiratory System
When youve been diagnosed with asthma, the lining of your airways tends to always be hypersensitive meaning that theyre often inflamed and red. This means that patients may have flare-ups after exercising, being outdoors in cold weather, being sick, or having an allergy attack.
However, when exposed to an allergen, your bodys response is to trigger an asthma attack to protect you from potential harm. When your bodys immune system is triggered, your airways will swell even more in an attempt to block out the allergen. The muscles that surround your airways will also tighten, which is what makes it harder to breathe. Its common for many patients to have a secondary asthma flare-up after their initial asthma attack.
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How Is Asthma Classified
Doctors rank how bad asthma is by its symptoms:
Your asthma may be getting worse if:
- You have symptoms more often and they interfere more with your daily life.
- You have a hard time breathing. You can measure this with a device called a peak flow meter.
- You need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often.
Four Components Of Asthma Treatment
The use of objective measures of lung functionspirometry, peak flow expiratory flow rateto access the severity of asthma, and to monitor the course of treatment.
The use of medication therapy designed to reverse and prevent the airway inflammation component of asthma, as well as to treat the narrowing airways.
The use of environmental control measures to avoid or eliminate factors that induce or trigger asthma flare-ups, including the consideration of immunotherapy.
Patient education that includes a partnership among the patient, family members, and the doctor.
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What Asthma Treatment Options Are There
You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms.
- Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen.
- Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on proper inhaler therapy.
You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.
If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:
- Anxiety or panic.
- Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
- Chest pain or pressure.
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How The Treatment Goals Are Attained
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for asthma. While treatment can control symptoms safely and effectively for most patients most of the time, it is not a simple matter of the doctor writing a prescription and the patient taking the medication. Successful treatment of asthma is likely to require several steps on the part of physician. These include:
- Confirmation of the diagnosis
- Characterization of the asthma with regard to:
- Identification of triggers
- Identification of the components of airway obstruction
The diagnosis of asthma is suspected when a patient has a history of recurrent or chronic shortness of breath, labored breathing, or cough in the absence of any other obvious reason. The diagnosis is confirmed by obtaining evidence that there is airway obstruction that reverses either spontaneously or as a result of treatment with anti-asthmatic measures. The procedures used to make the diagnosis include a careful history, measurement of pulmonary function , and therapeutic trials of medication.
Triggers of asthma, those identifiable factors that commonly worsen symptoms include:
- Viral respiratory infections ;
- Airborne allergens ;
- Inhaled irritants ;
- Cold air
Patients with an intermittent pattern of asthma require only intervention measures.
Reducing The Burden Of Asthma
Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.
There are two main types of inhaler:
- bronchodilators , that open the air passages and relieve symptoms; and
- steroids , that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks and death.
People with asthma may need to use their inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the different types of inhalers available.
It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a spacer device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine to reach the lungs more effectively. A spacer is a plastic container with a mouthpiece or mask at one end, and a hole for the inhaler in the other. A homemade spacer, made from a 500-ml plastic bottle, can be as effective as a commercially-manufactured inhaler.;
Access to inhalers is a problem in many countries. In 2019, only half of people with asthma had access to a bronchodilator and less than one in five had access to a steroid inhaler in public primary health-care facilities in low-income countries .
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What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.
For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.
Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:
- Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
- Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
- Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
- Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
- Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
- Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
- Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
- Strong chemicals or smells.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
Signs Symptoms And Complications
How often;signs;and;symptoms;of asthma occur may depend on how severe, or intense, the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens. Some people have symptoms every day, while others have symptoms only a few days of the year. For some people, asthma may cause discomfort but does not interfere with daily activities. If you have more severe asthma, however, your asthma may limit what you are able to do.
When asthma is well controlled, a person shows few symptoms. When symptoms worsen, a person can have what is called an asthma attack, or an exacerbation. Over time, uncontrolled asthma can damage the airways in the lungs.
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Will I Always Have Asthma
Asthma is a lifelong condition; most people who have asthma will always have asthma.
But if youve been diagnosed with asthma as a child, your asthma might improve or disappear completely as you get older, particularly if the asthma was mild. ;
Even if asthma goes away it can come back later in life, perhaps because youve come into contact with new triggers in your job, or youve moved to an area with more air pollution for example. Hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause can also bring it on again.
But the good news is that even though asthma doesnt go away there are lots of safe and effective;treatments;available to help you stay symptom-free.
If youve tried taking all the usual treatments in the right way, but youre still having symptoms, your GP can refer you to a specialist to see if you have severe asthma. This kind of asthma only affects around 4% of all people with asthma. An asthma specialist can help you find the right treatments for you, for example monoclonal antibodies.
Causes And Triggers Of Asthma
Asthma is caused by swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.
Common asthma triggers include:
- smoke, pollution and cold air
- infections like colds or flu
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
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Your Respiratory System And Asthma
An asthma patients guide to how the respiratory system works, with tips on keeping asthma under control.
Asthma is a common respiratory condition that affects over 26 million adults and children in the United States. Here’s a look at how the respiratory system works and how asthma impacts the respiratory system.
Upper respiratory tract The main parts of the upper respiratory system include the nose, mouth, throat and voice box. When you breathe in through your nose, the nasal cavity warms the air to keep it from irritating your sensitive airways. Cilia and mucus in the nasal passages trap germs and allergens. Once air is warmed and purified, it travels from your nose down to your throat and voice box and into the lower portion of your respiratory system.
Lower respiratory tract The lower respiratory tract is made up of the windpipe and lungs, including the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli. The air moves down through your windpipe and into the bronchi. Airways that branch off into the lungs have cartilage embedded in their walls to keep the bronchi open. Inside the lungs, these airways then move into smaller passages called bronchioles. These are susceptible to swelling and constriction because there is no cartilage to hold them open.
Avoiding the impact of asthma These simple steps can help you keep your respiratory system healthy:
Medically reviewed in May 2018.
How Is Asthma Managed
People with asthma can learn to identify and avoid the things that trigger an episode. They can also educate themselves about medications and other asthma management strategies:
Asthma is a chronic disease. It has to be cared for all the timenot just when symptoms are present:
The four parts of continually managing asthma are:
Identify and minimize contact with asthma triggers.
Understand and take medications as prescribed.
Monitor asthma to recognize signs when it is getting worse.
Know what to do when asthma gets worse.
Working with a health care professional is the best way to take care of asthma.
The more information a person with asthma has, the better asthma can be controlled.
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