Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by frequent wheezing, labored breathing, sense of chest congestion and frequent attacks of coughing and gasping. It is a disease of the respiratory system in which the airways narrow down often in response to a “trigger” meaning exposure to cold air, exercise, allergen or emotional stress. These symptoms of asthma can range from mild to life threatening and can be controlled by drugs and separate lifestyle changes.
This disorder is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the airways develop increased responsiveness to various stimuli and are characterized typically by bronchial hyper-responsiveness, increased mucus production, intermittent airway obstruction and frequent inflammation.
Diagnosis of asthma
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms you should visit the physician for proper diagnosis. Asthma is strongly suspected if a patient suffers from eczema or several other allergic conditions and already has a family history of asthma.
However diagnosis of asthma involves the following factors:
In children it begins with developed breathing problems, history of nasal stiffness [rhinitis], itchy eyes [allergic conjunctivitis] and eczema.
For adults it involves listening to the lungs with stethoscope and examination of nasal passages.
Blood tests and sputum studies are also great ways to diagnosis for asthma.
Spirometry is breathing test, which measures the amount, and rate at which air can pass through airways.
Exercise challenge tests and metacholine inhalation tests are also great procedures to evaluate airway responsiveness.
Asthma and pregnancy
Asthmatic women can face serious problem during pregnancy. If they do not take proper care, asthma can attack both the mother as well as the fetus inside the mother. Therefore uncontrolled asthma in pregnant women often lead to complications like premature birth, low birth weight and maternal blood pressure changes.
Following are brief ways pregnant women can take care of their asthma:
The expectant mother should remain active and sleeping throughout the night.
Pregnant women with asthma should do some regular exercises under the supervision of their physicians.
The pregnant mother should avoid medications like iodides, aspirin or ASA products, tetracycline, sulfonamides and antihistamines.
Treatments for asthma
Asthma can be treated with two types of medicines that include quick-relief medicines and long-term control medicines. While quick relief medicines should be taken during the first signs of asthma, the long-term medicines are taken every day usually over long periods of time to prevent symptoms and asthma attacks.
Following are the various treatments for asthma:
Children with moderate or severe asthma should know to use a peak flow meter to help keep asthma under control.
Medicines are the best treatments along with inhalers. However, medicines like beta-blockers used for treating high blood pressure and glaucoma, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin should be avoided.
Regular physical activity is important to reduce asthma.
You should manage your asthma to remain fit and healthy in life.