What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease (long-term), that usually begins during childhood, and leads sufferers to have trouble breathing, as well as fits of coughing and wheezing. If you have Asthma, you’ll notice that certain things act as triggers, such as dust, pollutants, pollen, smoke, animal fur and exercise. The triggers for Asthma inflame the bronchioles (which are very sensitive) and bring on what’s known as an asthma attack; a sharp increase in the severity of symptoms.
The reason that Asthma sufferers have such difficulties breathing is because the condition constricts the airways to the lungs. The muscles tighten, the wall becomes inflamed and swollen, and there is an increased amount of phlegm, which all leads to a much smaller passage for air to enter and exit through, than that of a healthy person.
While we know what Asthma is and how it occurs, it’s not really known what causes the condition to develop in the first place. Some research suggests that you may be born with a predisposition that increases your risk of developing it, while other evidence suggests it could be hereditary or related to genetics.
How can I treat Asthma?
There is no permanent cure for asthma however there are still ways to manage the symptoms to prevent asthma attacks. The two main aims of asthma treatment are to relieve current symptoms and prevent future symptoms. This is usually managed via the use of inhalers.
The inhalers usually contain bronchodilators (to open the airways) and corticosteroids (to reduce inflammation), but these will be in a variety of doses to treat varying severities. Treatment options also differ based on whether the inhaler is for long-term, ongoing treatment or to act as a rescue in the event of an attack of breathlessness.
As well as medication, you can also help yourself to manage your illness by being careful with your lifestyle choices. So quitting smoking will greatly improve your ability to breathe; exercise should be done with caution- meaning you should exercise and you should not be afraid of exercising, however you should always have your reliever (blue inhaler) with you and to be aware of what your limits are.