Asthma is a disease that affects the bronchi. Bronchi are branches of the trachea that lead to pulmonary alveoli air. In asthmatic bronchi narrows so that air circulation difficulties arise both in inspiration and in expiration. Several factors may be at the origin of this disease:
- Muscle fibers located around the bronchi contract (“spasm” Bronchial)
- Mucosa is irritated and congested
- Inside the bronchial mucus accumulates abnormally viscous.
Characteristic of asthma is the important role of bronchial muscle contraction. Spasm disappears within minutes after inhalation of specific drugs in the bronchi and air circulation is much improved. This confirms the diagnosis of asthma along with other lung function tests.
Asthmatics complain of attacks of suffocation (dyspnea) often associated with an irritating cough, which very rarely may be the only symptom of asthma. Breathing is sometimes easier wheezing (wheezing). Most people affected stands alone in what context their problems occur. These observations help to quickly find the origin and triggers of asthma.
In most children with asthma and nearly half of adults the disease is an allergy to certain substances present in the air. No date is not clear why some people develop allergies to certain substances while others are spared.
Allergic reaction causes inflammation of the bronchial mucosa by vasodilation and excess mucus secretion and bronchial muscle contraction leads progressively. In addition, they released a number of substances, such as eg histamine, which triggers bronchial contraction. The remaining patients had other causes asthma trigger for the crisis, non-allergic, but eventually it triggers the same type of inflammatory phenomena, which have the same consequences. These causes are less known.
Predisposition to asthma and asthma triggers
Factors are varied. If allergic asthma, inhalation of allergens (substances that cause allergy) may also cause (eg when playing with a cat allergy cat dander). All asthmatics show a hyperreactivity of the bronchi – which is a characteristic of the disease.
Bronchi constrict in contact with the most diverse irritants, such as:
- Cold and dry;
- Cigarette smoke (including that of passive exposure);
- Respiratory infections (colds, flu).
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. In the last 50-100 years there has been a significant increase in the number of cases of allergies and asthma. There are no known causes. Environmental factors and lifestyle seems to have some influence. Predisposition to allergies and asthma is hereditary, the disease often occurring in more members of the same family. Also it is likely that multiple genes be responsible for this predisposition and environmental factors that play a role in disease.
When you see your family doctor or a pulmonologist, patients often tells the same triggers. The doctor will perform a physical examination in order to rule out other diseases, then perform pulmonary tests that will allow the highlighting of bronchial narrowing.
Respiratory tests consist of full and quick expiration of air from the lungs after a maximal inspiration. One can also see if it is normal or decreased bronchial diameter. This functional test is then repeated after inhalation of a bronchodilator drug. Improvement after inhalation test is specific for asthma.
If the test is normal despite the problems described by the patient, the specialist is able to conduct a challenge test. It allows highlighting of bronchial hyperreactivity characteristic of asthma. Identifying allergens triggering is done by the family or by an allergist with skin tests. Asthma is confirmed when the disease respond favorably to treatment.
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment should allow the patient to lead a normal life despite suffering disease, ie to perform all required activities and of course sports. Medical treatment shall endeavor to maintain through optimal functioning of the lungs.
Asthma Treatment consists of:
- Avoid inhalation of allergens
- Treatment of bronchial inflammation
- Treatment of bronchial spasm.
In practice avoidance consisted mostly of removing animals that cause allergic reactions, use of mattress covers and other measures to reduce the amount of dust in the room. These measures often allow treating asthma with a minimal amount of drugs.
Everyone should have at hand asthma drugs cause a rapid bronchial dilatation, called bronchodilators. They have inhaled whenever respiratory problems. They work within minutes. Some bronchodilators are used to obtain a dilatation of the bronchi of prolonged (long-acting preparations) and should not be inhaled than twice a day. Thus remain permanently dilated bronchi.
Other drugs used to treat asthma are NSAIDs – mainly based inhalers corticosteroids, leukotriene inhibitors sometimes associated with. Inflammation is the basis of all asthma symptoms, it is important that it be treated fairly and sustainably, then reducing the need for medication. Corticoid preparations reduce any inflammation. Are used to treat a number of diseases, but may cause some unwanted side effects. If the lung is an organ in contact with the outside world and this can make. Inhaled corticosteroid cause it to go directly to the target organ, so you can use very low doses of cortisol, which decreases the risk of secondary phenomena.
When inhalation technique is correct and appropriate doses are usually no side effects. After each inhalation may be helpful to rinse the mouth and throat.
Leukotriene inhibitors act mainly on substances triggers of asthma attacks. It is administered in tablet form and are well tolerated. Administered concurrently with corticosteroids can reduce the amount of the latter.
There are different inhalation devices that allow modern medicine for asthma management: aerosol inhaled powder and, less commonly, inhalation devices electrically driven compressors. All these methods allow the absorption of inhaled drugs. At first glance, it seems easy breathing, but is actually more difficult than swallowing a tablet. Misuse of the device can be inhaled treatment to be ineffective. Therefore doctor how the patient systematically check their medicine. In order to further simplify inhaled therapy and improve treatment outcomes are prescribed then some combination preparations containing at the same time an anti-inflammatory and a bronchodilator.
As with any chronic illness, the patient himself is the main actor in the treatment of asthma. Doctor plays the role of instructor, advisor and partner. The prerequisite is that the person learn to accept illness and to take it seriously. Once the process starts, the difficulties related to asthma gradually diminishes.
Through discussions with the doctor, the patient can better understand the disease.
To better know the state of their disease, the patient has a device that allows easy measurement of respiratory function with maximum flow (peak expiratory flow). Values of peak expiratory flow (peak flow), measured every morning and every evening before inhalation, provides complementary information on the state objectives bronchi. Associated with pulmonary function tests performed by a doctor, these measures allow a reliable self asthma. By knowing the symptoms and peak expiratory flow (PEF), the patient has the most important elements for assessing asthma.
With medical help him learn appropriate measures to treat the disease.
Your doctor may also prescribe appropriate treatment depending on symptoms and PEF values. Patient will need time and experience to become the best specialist of their disease. It is very important discussion with your therapy goals and dropping them. Do not get dominated by asthma.
What to do if you have an asthma attack
Asthmatics are always at the mercy of sudden asthma attack and a sudden worsening of respiratory function. In these cases they have to inhale their medication. Trying to delay the drug and wait to pass crisis brings no benefit. If drugs do not produce the desired effect, you must repeat inhalation and contact your doctor.
Regular treatment of inflammation and well quantified sensitive reduces the risk of a sudden crisis such asthma.
If symptoms continue to occur have followed an action proposed by the physician. In most cases the dose of corticosteroid should be increased and should regularly inhaled bronchodilators.
In asthmatics is recommended influenza vaccination each fall.
Asthma and psyche
Interactions between asthma and mental vary. Each person reacts differently to the diagnosis. At first, fear and uncertainty dominate. Patient a crisis of dyspnea is always a dramatic experience, it can trigger a fear reaction, which in turn will affect breathing. Mood may in turn influence lung function and asthma.
Understanding that there are effective treatments against asthma often has a positive effect, soothing the sick.
Asthma and career choice
Youth allergic asthma sufferers are recommended to consult their doctor before choosing a profession, in order to determine if it complies with asthma or allergic persons. There are jobs that expose people inhalation of substances that can cause asthma or it may worsen. Allergic people should avoid these occupations.
Still work and work characteristics are evolving. Change materials and equipment used for avoiding exposure to allergens is perfected. If so family doctor will contact a doctor at work to obtain more detailed information. Together they can find the best solutions.
Tips for long trips
Asthmatics may of course wish to travel anywhere. However, it can be useful discussed with the doctor. Together they will establish a specific treatment program. The patient may, by taking additional medication urgnta cases, to care alone even in case of severe problems. Exceptionally tablets corticosteroids may play an essential role for several days. Equipped with additional drugs and a suitable treatment program, the patient will begin to appreciate the holidays in peace. However, the drugs remain in reserve most of the time on it.
Asthma and Sports
Physical activity is part of life. Today sport has become an essential element of balance between body and spirit. This is true for asthmatics! They can and should play sports! Asthma is not incompatible with athletic performance. Some successful athletes are asthmatic. Following appropriate treatment and respecting the physician sports activity is thus possible.
Sports, especially swimming and endurance sports, is a useful tool for the treatment of asthma, gives the patient a feeling of security and mastery of the disease, which can mitigate the latter. Children with asthma should normally attend, if possible, the activities of classmates. With current therapies is not only possible but also indicated.