Asthma is a disease that affects the respiratory system or airways that carry air to and from the lungs. People who suffer recurrently or long lasting from this chronic condition are said to be asthmatic. The inside walls of airways of an asthmatic person are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases the susceptibility to an allergic reaction. As inflammation makes the airways narrower, so because of this less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs. Symptoms of the airways becoming narrow include wheezing which is a hissing sound while breathing, coughing, breathing problems, and chest tightness. Asthmatics usually experience these symptoms most frequently during the night and during early morning.
Asthma is thought to be caused by both factors, genetic as well as environmental factors. The diagnosis of asthma is based on the pattern of symptoms, response to therapy over time. It is clinically classified according to the three factors- frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma is classified as extrinsic (atopic) or intrinsic (non- atopic).Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist and oral corticosteroids. In very severe cases, intravenous corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate, and hospitalization may be required. Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and by the use of inhaled corticosteroids. Asthma has no cure till now. Even if the asthmatic person feels fine, they still have the disease that can flare up at any time. But with today's knowledge and treatments, most people having asthma can easily manage the disease. They may be having few, if any, symptoms. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.
Last date updated on September, 2014