Asthma is a relatively common lung disease which causes the airways to become inflamed and, in turn, swell. This causes shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and wheezing and/or coughing when attempting to breathe. The severity is solely dependent on the case at hand; some people only experience slight discomfort, while others experience extremely painful attacks. Attacks are usually triggered by inhaling a certain substance that reacts with the bronchial muscles. These attacks can be at times potentially fatal.
To fully understand the disease, one must understand exactly what it does to the body. With asthma, when a certain substance is inhaled, it will cause the bronchial muscles in the airways to become inflamed. This restricts the amount of air that makes its way to the lungs, causing discomfort and difficulty breathing. The amount of mucus produced may also rise, which can worsen the conditions by making the airways even more narrow. This can become fatal if the airways become completely closed.
The exact cause of asthma is currently unknown, though it is believed by researchers that one large contributor for the development of the disease is simply genetics. Like most diseases, if there is a family history of asthma within your kin, you are at risk of the disease as well. Asthma can also develop due to certain types of respiratory complications during early childhood. Exposure to certain toxins in the air has also been ruled in as one of the possible factors.
This chronic disease can affect anyone at any age, though the majority of cases develop during childhood. This disease can not be cured, however it can be managed, with the help of your doctor. Asthma medicine is typically self-administered through a device called an inhaler. The most popular type of inhaler is known as the beta-agonist bronchodilator. Beta-agonist drugs are used to provide quick relief for the coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness associated with an asthma attack. They work by smoothing the bronchial muscle in the airways that have become inflamed, allowing air to travel to the lungs with considerably more ease. One or two puffs from the inhaler can be taken every four to six hours to safely ensure that the symptoms subside and all discomfort ceases. If the inhaler fails to do its intended job and symptoms continue or worsen, it is very strongly recommended to take a trip to the hospital.
Attacks or symptoms of asthma can be avoided by avoiding trigger substances. For most people, symptoms may be brought on by exposure to things like pollen, pet dander, or large amounts of dust. Exercise and cold air have also been known to be common triggers. For the average modern person, coping with asthma is easy and safe with the proper knowledge and precautions.