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How to Deal with Asthma Attacks
Although much progress has been made in the understanding of asthma over the past decade, asthma remains a frequently encountered condition challenging physicians.
Although much progress has been made in the understanding of asthma over the past decade, asthma remains a frequently encountered condition challenging physicians. Asthma is a chronic, episodic disease of the airways, and it is best viewed as a syndrome.
Recent evidence suggests that asthma is an inflammatory disease, and not simply due to excessive smooth muscle contraction. Inflammation is the proximate cause of airway hyperactivity and variable airflow obstruction in asthma, and is a universal finding in all asthmatic individuals. Increased airway inflammation follows exposure to inducers such as allergens, viruses, exercise, or nonspecific irritant inhalation.
Increased inflammation leads to exacerbations characterized by dyspnea, wheezing, cough, and chest tightness. Abnormal histopathologic lesions including edema, epithelial cell desquamation, and inflammatory cell infiltration are found not only in autopsy studies of severe asthma cases but even in patients with very mild asthma who undergo research bronchoscopy.
Many studies have emphasized the multifactorial nature of asthma, with interactions between neural mechanisms, inflammatory cells mediators, and intrinsic abnormalities of the arachidonic acid pathway and smooth muscle cells. While these types of descriptive studies have revealed a composite picture of asthma, they have failed to provide a basic unifying defect.
An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed in response to a trigger, such as dust, mold, pets, exercise, cold weather and stress. However, some attacks start for no apparent reason. Triggers may inflame the airways to the lungs, allowing disease-fighting cells to accumulate and causing swelling in the lungs. In addition, the airways may become blocked or obstructed when the muscles surrounding the lungs tighten or go into spasm. This keeps air from circulating freely in the lungs. Or, mucus may clog and narrow the airways in the lungs, making breathing even more difficult.
During an asthma attack, the walls of the airways become inflamed, and the mucous membrane covering the walls becomes swollen with fluid. Sticky mucus fills the remaining space, making it difficult to breathe. Because air cannot flow in and out of the lungs freely, a whistling or wheezing sound may be heard. During severe attacks, wheezing may stop because there is too little air moving to make any noise.
Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, or severe, and can last for a few minutes, a few hours, or several days. They can occur anywhere and at any time. Many occur at night. Sometimes, there are warning signs that an attack is about to happen, but sometimes there aren't.
The symptoms of asthma can vary among people. Usually there is scratchy throat, or tightness in the chest, followed by a cough, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath.
Although many people think asthma is no big deal, about 5,000 Americans die of asthma each year. But don't get worried that something bad will happen when you have an asthma attack. Asthma can be controlled. You can control it different ways for different of course medicine such as inhalers and/or pills is usually a must there are other tricks us asthmatics have learned. Like calming down for one, some drink a cup or coffee or tea for me I have found a cold glass of water will help ease the attack then I take a couple puffs from my inhaler.
Most people with asthma can live a full and active life when they are treated and are careful to avoid things they know can trigger their asthma. Your doctor can help you decide whether there are times when taking medicine may help prevent an asthma attack for example, before exercising, on cold days, or on days when the pollution is bad or the pollen count is high.
About 50% of children who develop asthma between 2 and 10 years of age will naturally outgrow the attacks. But asthma may recur when they reach their 30s or 40s. Asthma is a serious disease, and requires treatment. It can reduce your child's ability to exercise and may harm his or her self-image. Since there are safe and effective ways to treat asthma, there is no reason to allow a child to suffer its symptoms.