Asthma Facts: The Basic Questions Answered

Asthma Facts: The Basic Questions Answered
Asthma is derived from the Greek word (άσθμα), a more precise English translation of which is “panting”. The primary symptom of asthma is inflammation of the air passages resulting in temporary narrowing of the airway and difficulty in breathing. At it’s most severe asthma can be deadly. Although there is no known cure for asthma it can be managed with proper care and treatment. Causes are considered to be both genetic and environmental, with an increasing number of sufferers reported annually in America.

What is an Asthma Attack?

When the airways in the lungs shrink due to inflammation it becomes difficult for them to do do their basic job – process oxygen from the air. With less surface area available the sufferer experiences difficulty breathing. The lungs sometimes react to the situation by producing mucus, which can have the unfortunate effect of exasperating the situation.

What Causes an Asthma Attack?

Usually an asthma attack is brought on by environmental triggers although psychological stresses can also be the catalyst, for example a panic situation can lead to an asthma attack for some people. Environmental triggers are the most common inducers, they can include anything from smoke to dust mites to pollutants like vehicle emissions and also black mold spores and pet dander. Obviously attacks are also triggered by exertion, participation in activities such as exercising, hiking, swimming, basically anything that elevates the heart rate.

 How Do you Treat an Asthma Attack?

Asthma is most commonly treated by inhaler particularly in the event of an attack because it is fast acting and induced directly to the area that requires treatment – the lungs! An inhaler is a small hand held device that administers a burst of medication by pump directly into the mouth for inhalation. Inhalers are also used in the long term treatment of asthma however the medication is different. The most common rescue medications used in the event of an attack are called broncho-dilators. They are quiet fast acting, usually performing their function in two to three minutes. Your doctor will generally advice you on how your asthma might best be managed over time and thus warding of attacks and reducing the need for emergency treatment.
Another treatment device is the neutralizer, a device that infuses medicine into a mist that the patient inhales through a mask applied over the mouth. This is more commonly used in the treatment of children.

Precautions for asthma Sufferers.

Try to avoid environmental triggers, such as those previously listed. Avoid exercise that pushes your heart rate excessively. Obviously exercising in moderation is not only appropriate, but also encouraged. Consult a doctor for specific help as each individual case is different.

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