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How to deal with asthma?

What is asthma?

It usually begins with coughing or wheezing. In a while, there is the feeling of tightness in the chest area. Breathing gets shallower. There is an overwhelming feeling of the breath shortage. These are typical symptoms of an asthma attack.

There is estimated to be more than 350 million of people suffering from asthma across the globe. What is the death rate for patients with asthma? Can it be lethal? As a matter of fact, yes, it can. There are around 300 thousand of patients who dies every year from the complications associated with asthma.

How one gets asthma?

Asthma is happening in the respiratory system of the human. It is concentrated in the region known as smaller airways. These are bronchi and bronchioles. These two airways are lined inside with mucosa. Mucosa, in its turn, is wrapped by a layer of smooth muscle. While normally there is little or no inflammation in these airways, in patients with asthma, however, there is the chronic inflammation in these airways. The inflammation results in the higher responsiveness in the presence of the number of triggers.

Asthma triggers include:

  • Tobacco smoke,
  • Pollen,
  • Dust,
  • Certain fragrances,
  • Certain exercises,
  • Cold weather,
  • Stressful factors,
  • Regular cold.

If and when a patient with asthma finds himself exposed to any of these triggers, or a combination of those, he is running high risk of having an asthma attack, sometimes referred to as exacerbation.

The mechanism of an asthma attack

How the triggers described above exactly work as precursors to an asthma attack? When a patient with asthma is getting exposed to one of the triggers we mentioned, the smooth muscle that wraps mucosa, or, to be more precise, the rings of this smooth muscle get contracted and, as a result, become narrower. At the same time, the given trigger, for example tobacco smoke or dust particles, causes the mucosal lining to swollen, and, in its turn, making it secrete more mucus.

What this mucus is for? It is produced in the organism to catch and subsequently clear out incoming particles, for example, dust particles. However, during an asthma attack, mucus, on the contrary, is blocking the airways that got significantly narrower, as we described. As a result, the breathing process becomes very problematic for the organism to sustain. The results are all the symptoms of asthma, – coughing as the result of an excess amount of mucus; wheezing as the result of the passing of air through extremely narrow airways; tight chest as a result of the constriction of smooth muscles. An individual suffering from asthma usually would feel like he is running out of air during an attack.

During an asthma attack, an inflammation makes it harder to exhale than to inhale. Over the time, this imbalance of inhalation and exhalation would lead to an excess of air in the patient’s lungs. This condition is known as hyperinflation (learn more). The air trapped inside the lungs makes the organism to work harder to push air in or out of the lungs. Gradually, this would result in the oxygen delivery shortage to all of the human body’s organs and tissues. What is more, as a result of the untreated severe asthma attacks, the body simply cannot keep it at the necessary level, which would lead to death caused by lack of oxygen.

Is it possible to prevent asthma attacks?

Is it possible to live with asthmas and avoid asthma attacks? As a matter of fact, yes. There are several ways that can help reduce the risk of asthma attacks or even eliminate them altogether.

Reducing the presence of asthma triggers helps preventing asthma attacks. Our environment is constantly changing, and it is virtually impossible to avoid all asthma triggers like tobacco smoke, dust or fragrances at all times. That is why the asthma inhalers were introduced. These efficient medications help people suffering from asthma in controlling and preventing asthma symptoms. Inhalers transport given medications all the way along the airways that have been affected by asthma. Inhalers utilize either a liquid mist or refined powder to deal with the problem.

There are two basic forms of inhalers:

  1. Reliever medications

Reliever medications are designed to battle the asthma symptoms instantly. They contain beta-agonists, which work by way of relaxing smooth muscles that got constricted as a result of asthma. The airways get wider and air can move uninhibited either in or out of the lungs.

  1. Preventive medications

Preventive medications are designed to deal with asthma symptoms over a long stretch of time. They contain corticosteroids, which are known to reduce airway sensitivity overall as well as to reduce inflammation. As a result of the preventive medications treatment, asthma is constantly kept under control. Preventive medications are also paramount for preventing long-term damage which can be caused by chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammatio0on can lead to scarring of the airways. Inhalers are widely prescribed and are very effective. You can read a comprehensive analysis of the ways to treat asthma elsewhere:

Living with asthma in the future: is there a universal remedy?

Even though asthma has been known for medical specialists for centuries, the causes of this disease remain an enigma. Most specialists believe that asthma is caused by the combination of genetic and environmental factors, the nature and the nurture. It develops in the early childhood. Asthma is spread more widely in the regions with damaged, poor environment, where insufficient nutrition goes hand-in-hand with polluted air. The lack of the available medical treatment also makes it harder for poor people to deal with asthma.