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Asthma by Emily Meininger

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Asthma makes breathing very difficult because it is a chronic disease of the airways. Asthma causes inflammation of air passageways that carry oxygen to the lungs. Due to the inflammation, the symptoms of asthma are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Asthma can also be referred to as bronchial asthma. There are three major features of asthma which are inflammation, airway irritability, and airway obstruction. For people who have asthma, their bronchial tubes are extremely swollen and inflamed. This inflammation causes major long-term damage to the lungs. The airways for people who have asthma are very sensitive which relates people who have asthma to allergies as well. A person’s airwaves are relaxed and the air moves freely when a person who does not have asthma breathes. A person with asthma is the opposite. Allergies and other substances trigger their airways and cause the muscle to tighten which does not let air go through. When the air moves through a tightened airway a whistling sound is made which is known as wheezing.

There are many types of asthma a person can have. There is allergic asthma, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma, nighttime asthma, and certain health conditions that mimic asthma. Allergic asthma is very common because allergies and asthma go together. Allergic rhinitis is the most common allergic disease which is the inflammation of the lining of the nasal cavity. With this disease, a person will have a constant runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat, and excess mucus. Most asthma symptoms are triggered and caused by allergic rhinitis. Cough-variant asthma is also very common today. Severe coughing is the symptom of this type of asthma. Cough-variant asthma is under-treated and under-diagnosed today. Respiratory infections and exercise are often related to cough-variant asthma. Many early symptoms of asthma can be recognized to detect asthma. Some of these symptoms are frequent coughing, shortness of breath, feeling weak or tired during exercise, moody, trouble sleeping, and signs of colds or allergies.

Diagnosing asthma can be difficult because most people who have asthma, their symptoms that are not obvious by the time they reach a doctor. People who have asthma can go for months without having any symptoms. Your doctor or asthma specialist is the most important person who will help control your asthma. There is an initial test which is where your doctor will ask you several questions about your daily lifestyle. Following this test, your doctor can do many different types of tests. Spirometry, peak-flow testing, and chest x-ray are very common tests a doctor will perform. These tests help with breathing and to show how effective an asthma treatment will be. Steroids and other inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, inhalers, nebulizers, and prednisone pills are very common treatments for asthma. For day-to-day living, self-managing asthma is extremely important. Diet, exercise, managing stress, and the effects of smoking will help manage your day-to-day living.


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