Twenty-six million people in the United States are living with the illness known as asthma. Asthma is a condition that makes it harder to move air in and out of the lungs. There can be two types of asthma: allergic and nonallergic. Asthma has no cure. Most people who have asthma are can manage the disease. They can live normal, mostly active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.
Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms of asthma can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath. Asthma triggers can be outdoor and indoor allergens, certain drugs and food additives, irritants in the air, illness such as colds and flu, stress, exercise, and weather conditions. Signs that your asthma is probably worsening an also be the urge to use quick-relief inhaler more often, increase in the difficult breathing, and asthma symptoms that are more frequent and more troublesome.
There is no exact cause for asthma. Researchers think some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma in most cases. These factors include an inherited tendency to develop allergies, called atopy, parents who have asthma, certain respiratory infections during childhood, contact with some airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections or early childhood when the immune system is developing. One theory researchers have for what causes asthma is the “hygiene hypothesis (Asthma). They believe that our Western lifestyle with its emphasis on hygiene and sanitation has resulted in changes in our living conditions and an overall decline in infections in early childhood (Asthma).
Asthma can be detected through vary of test. Your primary care doctor will diagnose asthma based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and some test results. Doctors can ask you about your family medical history of allergies or asthma. They might also ask about having asthma symptoms and how often do they occur. In the physical exam, doctors will listen to your breathing and other allergies or asthma signs. Most doctors will also use a pulmonary test to see if your lungs are working. This can be done with spirometry and bronchoprovocation tests. Spirometry measures how much air you can breathe in and out. Bronchoprovocation testsmeasure how your airways react to specific exposures.
Asthma is a long-term disease that has no cure. Prevention and long-term control are key to stopping asthma attack before anything starts. Good asthma control will prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms, reduce your need for quick-relief medicines, and help maintain good lung function. Treatment usually involves learning to recognize your triggers, taking steps to avoid them and tracking your breathing to make sure your daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control (Asthma). Asthma is treated with two types of medicines: long-term control and quick-relief medicines. Long-term control medicines help reduce airway inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms. Quick-relief medicines relieve asthma symptoms that may flare up.
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