Asthma,a chronic disease affecting millions of people worldwide.It is a widespread respiratory disease.It is a conditions whose severity varries in different people .In this disease , respiration is disrupted by generation of excessive amounts opf mucus in the lungs as well as swelling in the lungs.To give the readers proper grasping on the asthma , I will discuss the diagnosis, causes ,signs and treatment of Asthma
Causes of asthma:
Although the exact precise causes of Asthma are unknown however it is most likely to be caused by genetic and environment factors.It is a disease likely to run in the families,so if any family member has Asthma chances of developing asthma are quite high. The major causes of Asthma are as follows:
When some people aare exposed to substances like pollens,dust and spores it can cause allergic reactions in them and thus develop Asthma
Having high levels of pollutants in the air can exacerbate asthma and irritate the air breathing ways.Causes of air pollutioon includes: smoke from vehicles,cigarettes,industries etc
In certain people, different diseases of respiratory tract like common cold can cause asthma symptoms to prevail
Sometimes vigorous exercise can also induce asthma symptoms which is known as exercise induced asthma
For some people asthma symptoms gets worse due to fluctuations in humidity,cold air and temperature changes
Asthma can also get worsen in some people due to different emotional factors like stress,worry and laughing.
Diagnosis of Asthma:
By thorough investigation of patient’s different diagnosis tests , physical examination and medical history of the patient asthma can be diagnosed
1) Medical history:
In the first step of diagnosing asthma , the patient must provide a thorough history to the medical healthcare provider which will include symptoms,duration and severity of shortness of breath in order for better understanding.The health provider will also ask about the family history of asthma.
2) Physical Examintion:
It is an important step in diagnosing of asthma. For this purpose , stethoscope is used to hear any wheezing or abnormal sound of the patients lungs and will also help in checking the HR(heart rate),RR(respiratory rate) and BP (blood pressure).Physical signs like skin changes and nasal congestion can also be indicative of Asthma
3) Diagnostic test:
There are several test which can confirm the diagnosis of asthma. These are:
These tests are used for measuring of the functioning of lungs and to determine the hallmark symptom of asthma that is airway obstruction.The most common PFT is spirometry in which measure the forced expiratory volume of lungs in one second and total amount of air exhaled.The test’s result can help in assessing the disease as well as the patients response to medication.
A peak flow meter is used to measure how fast the patient can exhale air.The results can help asses the airflow variablity in lungs which is common in asthma
In order to distinguish between Asthma and other disease ie pneumonia having same symptoms as Asthma or to identify different structural abnormalities, imaging studies are done
Management of Asthma:
n order for management of Asthma multi-faceted approach including identification of triggers and avoiding them , and also medication and life-style modification.The main goal for managing Asthma is to have control on Asthma, reduce the symptoms and decreasing the frequency of Asthma attacks.It includes:
1) Trigger identification and avoidance:
Asthma symptoms usually worsen due to certain triggers .It is an important step in management of Asthma to identify such triggers and avoid them to prevent furthur complications.These triggers includes some allergens such as pollen,mites and dander and irritants such as tobacco smoke,strog odors and air pollution.
One of the crucial component in the management of Asthma are the medications. Medications of Asthma are devided into two types: Quick relief medications and long term control medications.
- Quick relief medications are used during the asthma attack to relieve the patient of Asthma symptoms. The main example of quick relief medications are SABA(Short Acting Beta Agonists),albuterol, which helps in easing the breathing by relaxing the muscles in the airways
- Long-term control medications are used to prevent the Asthma from occuring in the first place and prevent the exacerbations.These medications includes LABA(Long Acting Beta Agonists),leukotrienes modifier and other anti inflammatory medications.
In order to choose the best possible medicine and the dose ,it is advised to consult with the health care provider .
3) Asthma action plan:
It is a written comprehensive guide on how to manage asthma and how to control asthma exacerbations and includes the information related to the use of medicine and avoidance of the triggers.
4) Education and self managing:
Education is very important in the managing of Asthma as without it patient cannot control it properly.Every patient should be educated about the symptoms of Asthma and what exacerbates these symptoms as to effectively control the asthma attack. In order to ensure the optimum drug delivery , the patient should be educated about the use of inhalers and other devices.There are many self managed techniques to help in maintaining the normal breathing and managing stress which helps in the managment of Asthma.
5) Regular follow-up:
In order to have proper control of Asthma and adjusting dose of medications it is important to have a regular follow up visits to a health care worker.These visits helps the health care provider in assessing the lungs of patients and reviewing the Asthma action plan to make necessary changes according to needs of the patients.
6) Lifestyle modifications:
Life style modifications are necessary for managing asthma.Smoking also worsens the symptoms of Asthma . so it is very important to quit smoking if you are a smoker.Different breathing exercises prescribed by health care provider also helps in improving the asthma.Avoiding different diseases like obesity and GERD (Gastro Esophagial Reflux Disease) can also have a positive impact in managing Asthma.
Immunotherapy is recommended in the cases where several allergens are the trigger to Asthma.It works by regularly taking medicines or an injection containing the same allergen which acts as a trigger for Asthma .This helps in reducing the severity of Asthma by desensitizing the immune system against that allergen.
8) Phsycological support:
Asthma can cause stress,anxiety and many other phsycological conditions and can have a negative effects on patient’s mental health.Thus, in order to help patients to cope with the difficulties in living with asthma phsycological suport such as counselling or therapy is very benificial.
9)Monitoring and adjusting treatment:
Adjustment of treatment is constantly needed in order to control a chronic disease like Asthma. Assessment through different test ,symptom evaluation and medication review are important measure to help in adjustment of therapy needed for the patient by understanding the patients condition.
To conclude,managemnt of Asthma requires a multi faceted approach including identifying and avoiding different triggers ,use of medication ,asthma action plan, and many other steps which requires regular follow up by a health care provide.In order to maintain optimal Asthma control, consultation with the health care provider is very necessary for the creation of managment plan according to the needs of the patients.
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Hi, I’m Affan lateef , a pharmacist by profession. I have a degree in pharmacy and over 5 years of experience helping people achieve their health goals. I write about various topics like health, artificial intelligence in health, mental health, diet and weight loss. Follow me here on these platforms given below.