Asthma – Causes, symptoms and treatment

Asthma

Asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory disease. The chronic condition affects the airways of the lungs. Asthma causes the airways to get inflamed and narrow, thus making breathing hard for an individual. The difficulty in breathing may sometimes trigger the coughing and wheezing sound when shortness of breath occurs.

Asthma turned out to be the most chronic inflammatory condition. Normally while you breathe, the air (oxygen) from your nose travels through the mouth and passes to the lungs through the airways. There are many airways through which oxygen is carried forward to the bloodstream.

Asthma occurs when the lining of the airways gets inflamed causes shortness of breath and coughing 

What causes Asthma?

The causes of Asthma are quite unclear. Asthma is probably caused by genetic traits and environmental factors. The environmental factors may include allergies, pollution, etc. The mentioned factors do not apply to all people. For sensitive people, allergy-causing factors may trigger the symptoms of Asthma.

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What are the types of Asthma?

There are different types of Asthma. Asthma is classified to make it easier to treat. 

  • Allergic Asthma is caused because of certain allergic factors like pollen, dust etc.
  • Non-allergic Asthma is caused because of genetic factors. 
  • Seasonal Asthma occurs seasonally or turns up under certain conditions or during a particular time of the year.
  • Occupational Asthma occurs by breathing up chemicals fumes, gases or other chemical substances.
  • Exercise-induced Asthma occurs when the symptoms turn up after exercise or heavy physical activity. 
  • Chronic Asthma occurs when the symptoms do not work up well with medications.

What are the symptoms of Asthma?

The most common symptoms of Asthma are shortness of breath and wheezing (the sound that occurs during shortness of breath). Other common symptoms of Asthma include:

These symptoms might get worse at the time of a cold or flu infection. An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms get worse, indicating that it needs medical treatment.

What is an Asthma attack?

Normally, when air passes through the lungs it passes smoothly. During an Asthma attack, the lining of the air passage and muscles get tightened quickly making it difficult to breathe.

When the muscles of the airway get tight, it makes the airways narrow. This blocks the free flow of air through the airways. Inflammation of the lining of the airways will also block the free flow of air. To worsen the condition the mucus produced by the body also blocks the airways. Asthma attack is a chronic condition so consult a doctor immediately.

Pay attention to the following factors that trigger the Asthma attack

  • Air pollution
  • Dust mites
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Smoke
  • Food allergies
  • Respiratory infection

How is Asthma diagnosed?

Fix an appointment with a doctor. The discussion about your symptoms and medical history will go on. Then the diagnosis will start with a physical examination.

Spirometry is a breathing test that checks and measures the free flow of air in the bronchial tubes. Spirometry measures how fast an individual can breathe and also measures how much air can be held in the lungs.

Peak flow test is a breathing test to measure how well the lungs push out the air. This test helps you to figure out the triggers of Asthma. It is also used to check if the treatment is working.

Methacholine challenge is done along with the spirometry test. Before the spirometry test, the individual is subjected to inhaling methacholine, a chemical substance. If this methacholine narrows the airways, then it means methacholine has reacted with Asthma.

A Nitric oxide test is a breathing test to measure the amount of nitric oxide in the breath. A tube is connected to a machine that detects the gas level. Normally the body produces nitric oxide but the levels are high when diagnosed with Asthma.

Imagery tests like chest X-rays are helpful to identify and rule out the causes of the symptoms. The test also makes it easier to check for other abnormalities and diseases.

An allergy test is either done by a skin test or blood test. This test is performed to check if Asthma is triggered in case of allergies.

Sputum eosinophils test is performed to check the levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cells. The test is performed with the mucus collected when the infected person coughs up. If the count is high then Asthma is confirmed.

What are the stages of Asthma?

The stages of Asthma are classified to treat Asthma according to the severity. The stages of Asthma are.

Mild or moderate stage: The severity is low and the symptoms occur often like twice or thrice a week. This has only a minor impact on the body or breathing.

Severe stage: The severe stage indicated the emergency to consult a doctor. The symptoms occur daily and it will affect routine activities. The symptoms lead to sleepless nights.

Life-threatening stage: The last stage where symptoms will never leave the side. This stage requires immediate consultation to treat and reduce the severity of Asthma.

How is Asthma treated?

There is no permanent cure for Asthma. All the treatments and therapies are helpful to ease the symptoms and to prevent them from developing into chronic conditions. So, the treatments are performed to improve the condition of the individual. 

Asthma treatments improve and reduce the inflammation in the airways. One such medication, bronchodilators provide instant relief by relaxing the tightened muscles around the airways and reducing the symptoms.  

Conclusion

Genetic factors and lifestyle changes are the causes that trigger Asthma. The best way to manage Asthma can only be provided by a doctor. That’s why consulting a doctor is necessary. Discuss with the doctor to find out the severity of Asthma.

However, living with asthma is possible if proper treatment is taken at the right time. A change in lifestyle can ease the symptoms of Asthma. 

Asthma is one of the respiratory ailments that have increased in recent years as a result of poor lifestyle choices and rising air pollution. It is a chronic respiratory disease that has an enormous impact on people’s quality of life and affects people of all ages. Asthma can be potentially life-threatening if left untreated. For effective Asthma care, regular doctor visits and medical evaluations are essential. However, the cost of Asthma treatment can be exorbitant when emergencies requiring sudden hospitalization and medical attention arise. Therefore, it is beneficial to have comprehensive medical insurance for Asthma. Since Asthma is a pre-existing disease, it is covered by most of the insurers after specific waiting periods.

While planning to get insurance for chronic lung diseases like Asthma, we must also think of reaching the extra mile and consider the Covid-19 Health insurance plan.

Star Health insurance offers a range of Health Insurance plans covering chronic diseases, such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular disease and Asthma, thereby, providing financial assistance for urgent hospitalisations and quality treatment.

Star Health Assure Insurance Policy covers the condition Chronic Severe Refractory Asthma. For more details on the policy, refer to the policy clause.

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