Asthma

asthma in children

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of asthma

 Globally, asthma is prevalent in more than 200 million people.

This has directly impacted the health and economy of India in the last few years. More than ten times a day we come across people battling to breathe. Question is, why do they fail to inhale and exhale with equal ease like others? Strugglers and onlookers both, in most cases, are not conscious, though not completely ignorant of the world threatening menace – “asthma”.People normally mistake it for a temporary breathlessness due to over-exhaustion or mental pressure.This allows the disease to insidiously worm its way into the apparently healthy lives.

What is the current global statistics?

childhood asthma onsetNearly 8% of the present global population suffers from the disease and some related syndromes. It is really shocking that more children (~58%) than adults (~51%) have already experienced asthmatic attacks. This staggering figure serves as a warning to the rest of the living, “breathing” population.

Definition of Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory disorder in which sudden spasm attacks occur in the bronchi or lungs, causing disrupted airflow in the intrapulmonary tract. The disease is accompanied by breathlessness and is believed to be caused due to allergic agents, constitutional defects, and other environmental factors.

Causes of Asthma

It is difficult to pinpoint a particular cause of asthmatic syndromes since the factors differ from one patient to another. The very common causes of the disease are as follows:

  • Allergens like pollen grains, animal dander, dust mites etc.
  • Respiratory disorders like congestion, cold and flu
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Air pollutants like smoke and particulates
  • Few drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Preservatives and chemicals in food
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) caused due to stomach acids rushing up to the throat

What are the warning signs?

asthma causesThe symptoms of the disease are quite clear and conspicuous. So every time a person suffers from an attack, the following symptoms must be easily identified-

  • Sudden shortage of breath
  • Pain, and compressed feeling in the chest
  • A wheezing cough
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Feeling of extreme fatigue and weakness

Types of asthma

Asthma is a long-term menace and might appear in different forms. These types can be roughly categorized as (i) Extrinsic  (triggered by external agents) and (ii) Intrinsic  (caused due to internal factors). The most popular types are discussed below:

Cough-induced asthma: It is a common variant of the disease where a dry, persistent cough occurs without secretion of mucus. But this type is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to that of common cold and cough, bronchitis, sinusitis and viral fever. The constant coughing leads to interrupted sleep at night.

Exercise-induced asthma: It mainly occurs due to physical exertion and is very much dependent on the fitness of the body. A person suffering from this kind of respiratory syndrome experiences difficulty in inhaling air properly due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes and the expulsion of mucus.

Environment-induced asthma: The intensity of this respiratory disease hinges on the type of environment a person is exposed to. For instance, factory workers are exposed to toxic chemicals and gases throughout the year, which leads to asthmatic tendencies. Residents of urban areas have greater risks of the disease due to the constant contact with particulates, dust particles, pollutants emitted from vehicles and more.                                         

There is yet another classification which is done according to the age group namely- (a) Child onset asthma and (b) Adult-onset asthma. These are elaborated below:

Childhood-onset asthma: This disease that starts at the early stage of childhood. Nearly 95% of people have been said to experience their first asthmatic attack before the age of 6. Both genetic (parental history of asthma) and environmental factors (house dust mites, animal proteins, pollens) come to play in this case. Childhood-onset asthma also occurs due to viral and bacterial infections.

Adult-onset asthma: This particular type is evident mainly in women within the age bracket of 18-65 years. It is mainly caused due to atopic and allergic tendencies developed at a much later stage. Research results suggest that the female sex hormones play a major role in the development of adult-onset asthmatic syndromes.

What are the long-term health impacts of asthma?

Asthma if not detected and diagnosed in the premature stage, might take a toll on the body in the future. Chronic inflammation of respiratory channels has been found in asthma patients above the age of 50. Permanent damage to lung and bronchi might take place which will invariably interfere with the healthy living of an individual.

What role do the genes play?

Unlike most of the other diseases, heredity plays a key role in asthmatic syndromes and the related respiratory disorders. A person having a parental history of respiratory problems is three times more likely to evince asthmatic symptoms at a sooner or later stage.

A typical allergic syndrome that is passed on from generation to generation is “Atopy”, that evidently predisposes an individual to the disease. Asthma genes and gene complexes identified till date are – ADAM33, PHF11, DPP10,GRPA, and SPINK5. Among these genes, the ones controlling environmental risk factors are – DPP10, GRPA and SPINK5.

Treatment & Prevention

asthma symptomsThere are no known cures for asthma. The only way to deal with this condition is managing the symptoms and avoiding asthma attack triggers.

Medication for asthma falls into two broad categories- short-term medication and long-term medication.

Short-term medications are usually prescribed in case of acute asthma attacks which relax the tightened chest muscles and allow proper breathing.

People who suffer from asthma should always carry an inhaler with them. Long-term asthma medications work by preventing asthmatic symptoms to surface. Discontinuity in long-term medications can result in worsening of the condition.

In order to prevent asthma attacks, one should avoid trigger and allergens. Allergens that mainly cause asthmatic attacks are pollen, spores, dust mites, pet hair and dander, cold air, environmental pollutants. In addition to these, sudden intense physical activities, stress, strong emotional response, and even GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) can cause asthma attacks. People with asthma should refrain from consuming processed foods because the chemicals present in preservatives such as sulfites tend to trigger asthma attacks.

With each passing day, the slow and simmering effects of the disease are palpable all over the world. Rapid industrial development witnesses growth and prosperity on one hand and a steep decline of human health on the other, asthma is one of the critical instances. A complete cure of the disease seems impossible unless sustainable environmental conditions are established. Doctors all over the world are recommending a “healthy and green” way of life over “medications” to recuperate from this life-threatening respiratory disorder. “Breathe and let breathe” is most definitely the mission the world is looking forward to at the moment.

Asthma home remedies

In addition, the bronchodilators and inhalers prescribed to the asthma patient, the following home remedies can also be applied to reduce the congestion and ease breathing:

  • In case of wheezing and chest congestion, rub a mixture of powdered camphor and mustard oil on the chest. This will help in attaining quick relief from troubled breathing.
  • Another effective way of clearing up the air pathways is to add few drops of eucalyptus oil in steaming water and inhale this steam.
  • You can also soak dried figs overnight and eat the soaked figs the next morning and drink the water to reduce the frequency of asthmatic attacks.
  • Ginger and honey together form a powerful combination in treating asthmatic symptoms. Mix ginger juice in warm water along with a teaspoon of honey and drink it 2-3 times a day to attain relief from congestion and breathlessness.
  • Include omega-3 fatty acids rich foods in your diet to reduce inflammation in your respiratory tract. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fish are rich sources of omega 3.

TL;DR?

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep your house dust-free and get rid of animal hair and dander.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises and meditation.
  • Protect yourself from mould, spores, cold air, and infections
Don'ts
  • Expose yourself to fumes from industrial chemicals, paints, and solvents.
  • Indulge in intensive physical activities.
  • Consume foods that are too cold or have added color and preservatives.

 

 

 

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AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
PROLACTIN-(PRL)
Prolactin Test (PRL) Prolactin or PRL is a lactogenic hormone produced to induce milk production in lactating mothers. PRL test measures…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
carbamazepine
Carbamazepine / Tegretol test The carbamazepine is a drug that is used to treat epilepsy and the carbamazepine test is performed to…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Sharpen your brain with these top brain-friendly foods! Did you know your diet could decide how razor sharp your memory is? Or that what you eat…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
labiaplasty
Labiaplasty Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to modify the labia minora and the labia majora. Learn about who can…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgG Test The cardiolipin antibody IgG are responsible for the abnormal formation of clots in veins and arteries or phlebitis…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
free testosterone test
Free testosterone Free Testosterone Test measures and monitors the level of the free testosterone in the blood. Less than 4%…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
stress adverse effects
Fight, flight, or freeze: 8 ways stress can ruin your body Did you know that stress is in-built in our systems? It helped our ancestors respond to danger. How…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
hsv-igg
Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody which stays in the blood…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Olive Leaf Extract: The healthy goodness of olives in a capsule Olive oil is not the only gift from the Olea Europea tree. Olive leaf extract itself is a…

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