What is asthma?

Asthma is a very common disease that is characterized by breathing difficulties. It can be caused be the ozone, car exhausts, smoldering wood fires in the open air and sulfur dioxide that is produced by industry, and viral infections.

Three factors have been identified to play a major role in asthma:

Allergies: this leads to an inflammatory reaction of the airways. House dust, molds, food allergies, grass pollen, ragweed, tree pollen and other allergens have been identified to set off this inflammatory reaction.

Bronchospasm: the wheezing sound that bronchial tubes of asthmatics make comes from spasm in the smaller bronchial tubes, called bronchioles.

Airway hyperreactivity: airways of asthmatics hyperreact to stimuli such as Cheap Jerseys From China cold air, irritants like diesel fumes or other pollutants with spasm of the airways. The hyperirritability of airways often includes the nasal passages (vasomotor rhinitis) as well.

What are the signs and symptoms of asthma?

The patient usually gives a history of recurrent breathing problems (dyspnea) and air hunger. The dyspnea is usually worse at night and the patient may have to prop up in bed or sleep the remainder of the night in a sitting position. The breathing problems may start along with a cold so that it seems that the patient simply did not recover from the cold.

Along with the attack is a lot of coughing and this seems to be the only way to get a deeper breath of air. The way this can be explained is that due to the bronchoconstriction (spasm of the air tubes) air gets trapped in the air sacs (alveoli) and only coughing squeezes the air out to a certain extent.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma is a lung disease where airway resistance is increased. A diagnosis of asthma is made with the help of spirometry. A simpler home test is to measure cheap nba jerseys the peak expiratory flow rate (PEF), which can be measured with a simple peak flow meter. Other tests include X-rays, arterial blood gases and possibly CT and MRI scans in special cases that occasionally would be needed. Allergy testing is another important aspect for patients with inhalation allergies or food allergies who have asthma.

How is asthma treated?

Treatment of asthma can be different depending on what stage the asthma is in:

Stage I (mild intermittent asthma ): With mild asthma the patient may only need an inhaler.

Stage II (mild persistent asthma): A low dose corticosteroid inhaler needs to be added and usually will provide stability to the stage II asthma. It is combined with the beta-2-inhalers.

Stage III (moderate persistent asthma): At this stage there are even more problems with inflammation and hyperirritability of the airways. More emphasis is put on long-term treatment of anti-inflammatory modalities such as corticosteroid inhalation in the low to mid dose range (500 to 1000 micrograms per day) in combination with theophylline tablets at bedtime to control night-time asthma. These patients should be seen by a specialist as the asthma likely will be an ongoing problem and complications need to be prevented.

Stage IV (severe persistent asthma): These patients with severe asthma need the attention of the lung specialist (pulmonologist). They need a combination therapy in higher doses all the time. They will usually need oral corticosteroids (prednisone or others) on ray ban sunglasses an ongoing basis.

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