Uploaded on Aug 14, 2008
What is exactly Asthma? Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swells. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by.
In sensitive people, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergy-causing substances (called allergens or triggers).
Common asthma triggers include:
1| Animals (pet hair or dander)
3| Changes in weather (most often cold weather)
4| Chemicals in the air or in food
8| Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
9| Strong emotions (stress)
10| Tobacco smoke
Most people with asthma have attacks separated by symptom-free periods. Some people have long-term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath. Either wheezing or a cough may be the main symptom.Asthma attacks can last for minutes to days, and can become dangerous if the airflow is severely restricted.
1| Cough with or without sputum (phlegm) production.
2| Pulling in of the skin between the ribs when breathing (intercostal retractions).
3|Shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise or activity
Bluish color to the lips and face
Decreased level of alertness, such as severe drowsiness or confusion, during an asthma attack
Extreme difficulty breathing
Severe anxiety due to shortness of breath
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
1| Abnormal breathing pattern --breathing out takes more than twice as long as breathing in.
2| Breathing temporarily stops.
3| Chest pain.
4| Nasal flaring.
5| Tightness in the chest.
Go to the emergency room if:
1| You develop drowsiness or confusion.
2| You have severe shortness of breath at rest.
3| Your peak flow measurement is less than 50% of your personal best.
4| You have severe chest pain.
1| You can reduce asthma symptoms by avoiding known triggers and substances that irritate the airways.
2| Cover bedding with "allergy-proof" casings to reduce exposure to dust mites.
3| Remove carpets from bedrooms and vacuum regularly.
4| Use only unscented detergents and cleaning materials in the home.
5| Keep humidity levels low and fix leaks to reduce the growth of organisms such as mold.
6| Keep the house clean and keep food in containers and out of bedrooms -- this helps reduce the possibility of cockroaches, which can trigger asthma attacks in some people.
7| If a person is allergic to an animal that cannot be removed from the home, the animal should be kept out of the bedroom. Place filtering material over the heating outlets to trap animal dander.
8| Eliminate tobacco smoke from the home. This is the single most important thing a family can do to help a child with asthma. Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke outside carry smoke residue inside on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms.
9| Persons with asthma should also avoid air pollution, industrial dusts, and other irritating fumes as much as possible.
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