Asthma

asthma in children

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?

Asthma infographic

Facts

  • With more than 235 million people suffering from it worldwide, asthma is one of the leading non-communicable diseases in the world.
  • 80% of asthma-related deaths occur in middle and low-income countries. Children are most affected by this condition.

Facts

  • Asthma cannot be cured. It can be only treated and managed.
  • Avoiding asthma triggers can help decrease the severity of the attacks.

Facts

  • The main triggers of asthma are cold air and dust, emotional outbursts, and intense physical workouts.
  • According to WHO, roughly 383,000 deaths occurred due to severe asthmatic attacks.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

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.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from expert on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
L-arginine: Your search for the ultimate fitness booster ends here L-arginine is an amino acid necessary for the body to perform various functions.  It is essential in producing…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
How chlorophyll is more than just a green pigment meant for photosynthesis Cholorphyll - you must know the usual function of this chemical in plants. But did you know that…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Grapeseed Oil: Find out how to use this oil without any side-effects Grapes are known for their delicious fresh taste and the fact that they make wine a healthy drink.…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Top 15 fat burning foods you need to start eating from today! Tired of going to gym everyday but seeing no change in your weight? Try these top fat burning…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
Activated charcoal: The instant health benefits of this “diamond in the coal mine” How can the pitch black activated charcoal help you whiten your teeth? Or have a hangover-free sunday morning?…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
LDL cholesterol level
Lecithin: Learn how you can utilize this fatty acid to improve your cholesterol count Lecithin is primarily a fatty acid found in common foods such as soy and eggs. However, this fatty…
How cooking with CLA safflower oil can help you lose weight? Read and discover more about CLA safflower oil and how it can aid faster fat metabolism in people…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
Hate making breakfast?Fast and healthy breakfast recipes just for you! Tired of snatching a bagel every morning for breakfast during the rush hour? Here are few fast and…
Bulletproof coffee recipe
Bulletproof Coffee – Breakfast of champions or yet another health fad? Can this special ketogenic coffee really make your body race as fast as a bullet?
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
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…
boost brain health
The ultimate tips on how to boost your brain health Would you like to be smarter? Want a sharp memory but bored of doing sudoku? Try salsa or…
Amaranth: Why is this native Peruvian grain called the “crop of the future”? Full of healthy high proteins and gluten-free, the grain, Amaranth, the tasty and ancient pseudo cereal from Peru,…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
MCT oil athletes
MCT Oil : The kind of fats you should be eating MCT oil or Medium Chain Triglycerides is the new buzzword in the fitness industry. What makes this oil…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
canola oil cooking
Canola oil: How safe is it to consume this popular cooking oil? Extracted from rapeseeds, Canola oil derives its name from Canadian Oil. Did you know that some forms of…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Pomegranate: Why are they called ruby red pearls of health? The shrub Punicagranatum yields a red fruit which is what you normally call pomegranate. The fruit is round…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Fructose: Healthy fruit-product or loaded with toxic calories? Fructose is a sugar derived from fruits and other plant sources. Does this mean that fructose consumption is…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
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…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
healthy habits
10 healthy habits: Have a hearty kick-start to the New Year! Do you set goals that are too difficult for you to maintain? Are to struggling to follow healthy…
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…
green tea benefits
Green Tea: Does it really aid weight loss and reverse aging? A centuries-old concoction of fresh green leaves, green tea holds the secret to healthy weight loss & delayed…
global warming health
Rising mercury and your health: How Global Warming is damaging your body Don't ignore the rising temperature. Global warming causes more than just heat strokes. It could be a lot…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
iron food shellfish
Iron-Rich Foods: Eat these foods to keep fatigue and anemia away! How to ensure a muscles as strong as iron? Eat iron rich foods ! Iron is one of…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
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…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Amnesia brain
Amnesia: It’s not just a blow on the head that can erase your memory Amnesia, a condition popularized by many a tv shows, is a condition of partial or permanent memory loss.…
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…