Asthma is a condition that affects the lungs. It is considered as a chronic condition that causes repeated inflammation and constriction of the airways in the lungs. Understandably, this results to difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathlessness. The episodes of asthma can oftentimes become life-threatening. Until today, there is no cure for the condition but the symptoms can be managed by taking medications and avoiding the potential triggers.
What are the causes of asthma?
The exact causes of asthma are not yet fully determined or why some individuals develop the condition while others do not. It is believed to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The allergens are the primary culprits for triggering the asthma attacks. Take note that allergies and asthma often occur at the same time and the most common type of asthma is the allergy-induced asthma. The asthma attacks are initiated by various factors in each individual. The contributing factors include the following:
- Infections particularly respiratory conditions such as the common cold
- Airborne allergens such as pollen, mold, animal dander and dust mites
- Cold temperature specifically cold and dry air can irritate the airway and cause asthma
- Exercise or any physical activity
- Stress and emotions
- Airborne irritants and contaminants such as wood smoke, chemical fumes and cigarette smoke
- Menstruation in women
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Food allergies that are caused by common initiators such as shellfish, peanuts, sulfites and some preservatives
What are the effects on the body?
As a response to a particular trigger, an asthma attack can cause the inflammation of the airways, bronchial restriction and erratic obstruction of the airway. The airway inflammation is the response of the body to the irritant and characterized by swelling, mucus secretion and constriction of the airway passages. The bronchial restriction occurs once the muscles in the airways narrow down and tighten on the bronchial tubes. The mucus can obstruct the airway, thus making it difficult for the individual to breathe normally.
It is important to note that asthma can be managed by avoiding the triggers as well as taking medications. Not all who have asthma use the same medications and there are various treatment options available. There are medications for both short-term and long-term control of asthma that is available in pill form or inhaled.
Albuterol sulfate is one of the commonly used treatments for asthma. This is a short-term control treatment for asthma that focuses on the symptoms of an asthma attack and classified as a bronchodilator which allows the individual to breathe easier since it relaxes and expands the airways. Other treatment options include corticosteroids which are a long-term treatment option that helps prevent the inflammation of the airways.
As for asthma attacks that seem to worsen and become life-threatening, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. In some cases, an asthma attack would require timely emergency care to prevent the condition from worsening.