Affecting an estimated 17 million people in the United States, asthma can be a chronic, life-long condition with symptoms such as chest tightness, frequent cough, wheezing and/or shortness of breath. People of all ages are affected by asthma. Sometimes people who are very young have asthma and as their lungs develop, their symptoms go away. Unfortunately, there is always a possibility that symptoms will recur for these people later in life. Some people get asthma for the first time when they are older. Asthma can not only be serious, it can also be life-threatening. The good news is that asthma can be managed so that you can live a normal, healthy life.
Asthma is a lung disease that makes it hard to move air in and out of your lungs. It is caused by inflamed and constricted airways. The muscles of the airways tighten and become swollen and irritated, making it hard to breathe. There are many triggers to asthma symptoms:
When someone with asthma is exposed to a trigger, the insides of the airways make extra mucus and swell even more. This narrows the space for the air to move in and out of the lungs. The muscles that wrap around the airways can also tighten, making breathing even harder. When this happens, it is called an asthma flare up, an asthma episode or an asthma attack.
No one really knows the exact cause of asthma. Asthma does tend to run in families and may be inherited. Many times, there is an allergic component to asthma. Some people are more likely than others to develop allergies and certain types of allergies are linked to people who get asthma. As the lungs develop in infancy and early childhood, some respiratory infections have been shown to cause inflammation and damage the lung tissue. This damage can impact lung function long term. Contact with allergens, certain irritants and exposure to viral infections as an infant or in early childhood when the immune system is developing have been linked to developing asthma. Irritants and air pollution also play a significant role in adult onset asthma.
Although asthma has no cure, proper treatment is essential. Proper treatment can increase your quality of life.There are several ways to treat asthma. Avoidance of triggers is always best. Even without symptoms, airway inflammation may still be there making an asthma attack more likely with the introduction of triggers. Since many people with asthma have allergies as well, properly treating your allergies is instrumental in an effective treatment plan. There are also medications which can help:
If you have questions about Asthma, feel free to contact our offices. One of our staff would be happy to answer your questions about Asthma and Asthma treatment options offered at Allergy & Asthma Clinics of Ohio.