It was a faithful Monday morning. The intermittent sneezing and coughing woke him up. Then, he discovered he couldn’t breathe well. The more he tried, the more difficult it became. “Oh! my roommate had put on the fan all through the night again” he muttered. The chest became tight and there come pains. “Could this be Asthma? Oh no! God forbid, never had such symptoms in my entire two decades on planet earth”. Before he could say, Jack Robinson, Jay found himself on the hospital bed.
Yes, it could be asthma and yes it can develop even if it seems you never had symptoms before. You are advised to visit the nearest hospital for proper diagnosis as other common lung conditions have similar symptoms.
Asthma can affect kids, adults, the aged, the privileged, the less privileged, the poor and the wealthy (the list is endless).
But you don’t have to be caught unawares, knowledge is power remember.
Asthma is a disease of airways inflammation in the lungs. The inflammation makes the airways red, swollen, narrower and extra-sensitive. This leads to the characteristic symptoms; audible wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulty and coughing.
The prevalence of Asthma has increased continuously over the years and it now affects an estimated 4-7% of people worldwide (if you do the maths, it is a big one!). Asthma kills, about 4000 deaths per year (most of which are preventable) are attributed to asthma in the US.
Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization in children and number one chronic condition causing absenteeism in school. Asthma resolves in many children but for some, wheezing persists into adulthood or relapse occurs in later years.
Asthma severity is categorized as intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent or severe persistent.
Some people are susceptible to asthma. If you notice you come down with cold symptoms easily, you may be one of them. Interactions between susceptibility genes and environmental factors often times lead to the development of Asthma.
Avoid/Control the Triggers:
Environmental and Occupational Allergens; these are numerous. Exposure to allergens in the environment such as dust mite, cockroaches and pets can lead to asthma development. If possible eradicate such from your environment or at worst reduce your exposure to them. Avoid other inhaled irritants such as smoke, fumes, strong smell/spray, fur, pollen etc.
Respiratory tract infections can also be a trigger, ensure to treat promptly.
Exercise can also be a trigger especially in extreme temperatures (cold/dry), kindly apply caution.
Emotions such as anxiety, anger, and excitement can sometimes trigger attacks.
Keep warm in cold weather (you may want to put off that AC/fan)
Avoid cold drinks (believe me, the pleasure of that chilled drink is not worth the pain that follows).
has been linked to asthma. Make conscious effort to include these in your food.
If Obese, kindly reduce your weight. Obesity also has been linked to asthma development.
These also have been linked to asthma development. Mothers are encouraged to eat balanced diet and likewise breastfeed their babies adequately. The importance of breastfeeding in the health of the growing child cannot be overemphasized.
Medications used in asthma management ranges from tablets to aerosols, powders, and injections.
Patients with asthma are strongly advised to always have their inhaler at arm’s length. Ensure to act fast if an asthma attack starts.
Move away from the trigger, use your asthma medication immediately (preferably the inhaler), relax for some hours to be sure breathing gets better.
To prevent recurrent attack, drugs that reduce airways inflammation can be used on a regular basis.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy