Asthma | What Is Asthma | Asthma Causes | Asthma Types | Asthma Symptoms | Asthma Treatment | Medication and Facts
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is characterized by a predisposition to chronic inflammation of the lungs in which the airways (bronchi) are reversibly narrowed. Asthma affects 7% of the population of the United States,6.5% of British people and a total of 300 million worldwide. During asthma attacks (exacerbations of asthma), the smooth muscle cells in the bronchi constrict, the airways become inflamed and swollen, and breathing becomes difficult.
Asthma causes 4,000 deaths a year in the United States. Medicines such as inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonists may be used to treat acute attacks. Attacks can also be prevented by avoiding triggering factors such as allergens or rapid temperature changes and through drug treatment such as inhaled corticosteroids and then long-acting beta-2 agonists if necessary.Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids, but have no side effects. Monoclonal antibodies, such as mepolizumab and omalizumab, are sometimes effective. Prognosis is good with treatment.
In contrast to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis, the inflammation of asthma is reversible. In contrast to emphysema, asthma affects the bronchi, not the alveoli.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines asthma as a common chronic disorder of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (bronchospasm), and an underlying inflammation.
Public attention in the developed world has recently focused on the predisposition because of its rapidly increasing prevalence, affecting up to one quarter of urban children.
* 1 Classification
* 2 Signs and symptoms
* 3 Cause
o 3.1 Environmental
o 3.2 Genetic
o 3.3 Gene–environment interactions
* 4 Risk factors
o 4.1 Hygiene hypothesis
o 4.2 Population disparities
o 4.3 Socioeconomic factors
o 4.4 Asthma and athletics
o 4.5 Occupational asthma
* 5 Pathophysiology
o 5.1 Bronchoconstriction
o 5.2 Bronchial inflammation
o 5.3 Stimuli
o 5.4 Pathogenesis
o 5.5 Asthma and sleep apnea
o 5.6 Asthma and gastro-esophageal reflux disease
* 6 Diagnosis
o 6.1 Differential diagnosis
* 7 Prevention and control
o 7.1 Trigger avoidance
o 7.2 Diet and supplements
* 8 Treatment
o 8.1 Medical
+ 8.1.1 Pharmaceutical agents
o 8.2 Emergency
o 8.3 Non-medical treatments
o 8.4 Treatment controversies
The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. This makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to certain substances that are breathed in.
When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This causes the airways to narrow, and less air flows to your lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways may make more mucus than normal. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow your airways.
This chain reaction can result in asthma symptoms. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are irritated.
Figure A shows the location of the lungs and airways in the body. Figure B shows a cross-section of a normal airway. Figure C shows a cross-section of an airway during asthma symptoms.
Sometimes symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with an asthma medicine. At other times, symptoms continue to get worse. When symptoms get more intense and/or additional symptoms appear, this is an asthma attack. Asthma attacks also are called flareups or exacerbations.
It’s important to treat symptoms when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can cause death.
Asthma find out
Asthma can’t be cured. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time.
But with today’s knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.
For successful, comprehensive, and ongoing treatment, take an active role in managing your disease. Build strong partnerships with your doctor and other clinicians on your health care team.
Know your options for treating your asthma
Your relationship with your healthcare professional is one of the most important factors in treating your asthma effectively. Being informed about all of the treatment options that are available and knowing how to use them correctly may help you communicate better with your healthcare professional. Your doctor can develop a treatment plan that works for you. Managing asthma effectively isn’t always easy, but a few things can help, including:
* Asthma Treatment Tips that may help you take better control of your asthma
* Tools to help you understand and better manage your asthma
* An Asthma Medication Overview, which gives you some insight into the kinds of therapies that exist and how they differ from one another
* Commonly Used Asthma Devices
* Learning about Other Asthma Therapy Options
* And finally, because asthma control is so important, take a moment to take the Asthma Control Test™. You can share these results with your healthcare professional to determine if your current treatment is keeping your asthma symptoms under adequate control.