Health & Wellness News and Tips
Priya K + Follow 07 Feb 2016
Asthma: Don’t let every moment take your breath away.

We understand how it feels when you’ve just walked a few steps, but the sound of the panting makes you feel like you’ve completed a walkathon. Inhalers occupy more space in your bag than a pack of chocolates. While others are hiking up the mountains, jogging their heels off, and Zumba-ing their bodies, your possible exercise choices are very limited.

If you frequently experience shortness of breath or you hear a whistling or wheezy sound in your chest when you breathe, you may have Asthma. It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes - the passageways that allow air to enter and leave the lungs. If people with Asthma are exposed to substances to which they are sensitive or situations that change their regular breathing patterns, the symptoms can become more severe.

There are two types of Asthma:

  • Allergic which is caused by exposure to an allergen.
  • Non-allergic which is caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, or exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air, or some medications.

Inhale the freedom, but not the illness.

While you may have been diagnosed with Asthma, you don’t necessarily have to live with it. Through effective treatment and care, you can live a peaceful life. Asthma often runs in families; according to the World Health Organization, about half the cases are due to genetic susceptibility and half result from environmental factors.

Asthma symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when you breathe, especially when exhaling)

Symptoms are usually worse at night and early in the morning. They may also occur in response to exercise or cold air. Some people with Asthma rarely experience symptoms, usually in response to triggers, whereas others may have marked and persistent symptoms.

Prevention of symptoms is the best strategy. A person with Asthma should know what situations trigger an attack and avoid them whenever possible. If Asthma attacks are severe, are unpredictable, or flare up more than twice a week, consultation with an allergist can help to determine their cause and provide long-term treatment that controls or eliminates the symptoms.

What pricks you is your pain

Following are some of the possible triggers for Asthma:

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees and weeds
  • Indoor allergens, such as pet dander, and dust mites
  • Certain drugs and food additives
  • Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odours
  • Colds, the flu, or other illnesses
  • Exercise (although people with Asthma can benefit from some exercise)
  • Stress
  • Weather conditions, such as cold air or extremely dry, wet or windy weather

Many people with Asthma manage their condition well and live a healthy and productive life by avoiding triggers and following their allergists’ instructions. If left unmanaged or misdiagnosed, Asthma can be fatal.

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