The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness or pain
• Chronic coughing
• Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing
Asthma flareups or asthma attacks are caused by allergies and exposure to allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollen or mold. Other triggers could also include smoke, pollution, cold air, changes in weather.
What are the types of asthma?
– Asthma can be of two main types; one which is triggered by exposure to allergy producing substances like pollen, dust; and another type which is triggered by exercise or physical exertion.
Who is prone to developing Asthma?
– Major risk factors for asthma are having a parent with asthma, allergies, exposure to chemicals and irritants in early age and later. In some cases, a history of respiratory infection as a child may be significant.
At what age do you develop symptoms of asthma?
– Asthma can begin showing signs in childhood (mostly associated with allergy) or it can develop later in life in adults (mostly exertional).
Is asthma an inherited disease?
– Though transmission from parent to child is not proven, but chances of developing asthma are high if there is history in parents. Genetics play an important role in asthma.
Can asthma be prevented?
– Though asthma cannot be prevented, but once the symptoms appear, an “attack” can be prevented by not getting exposed to allergy inducing substances, avoiding smoke and following the therapy diligently. In children, pneumonia and influenza vaccination may also help.
What are the medicines for asthma?
– Most common medicines prescribed in asthma are of the class bronchodilators – drugs that open up the swollen airways. Some are leukotriene modifiers, inhaled corticosteroids and theophylline. Steroids may be injected in cases of severe attacks for quick relief.
Why do I have to follow-up with my doctor regularly?
– Regular follow-up and frequent consultation is required initially because the treatment is given in stages. When a certain regimen fails to provide relief, a higher regimen is initiated till the patient is stabilised. Hence, regular visits are compulsory.
Is there a permanent cure for asthma?
– No, there is no proven cure for asthma; the only remedy is to prevent attacks or exacerbation of the asthma by following the prescribed course of medicine.
Is asthma life threatening?
– If proper medication and intervention is not followed, a severe attack of asthma, called “status asthmaticus” can be life threatening.
What restrictions are to be followed in asthma?
– There are no restrictions in asthmatics other than limitation of exposure to triggers that may precipitate an asthmatic episode. Living environment must be made asthma –friendly, free of dust, pollen, animal dander etc. Inhaler must be kept handy at all times.
Can an asthmatic patient live a normal life?
– A patient of asthma has to live with it his or her whole life, but with proper management and compliance to treatment they can lead a normal life with minimal restrictions.