First off let us do a little overview of asthma and understand what it actually is! Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs.
It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
If you have asthma your airways are always inflamed. They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms.
For many people who suffer from asthma, the timing of these symptoms is related to exercise. Some healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising, this is called exercise-induced asthma.
But exercise is a crucial part of your health so instead of not exercising we suggest you visit your physician so he can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physical activity.
People who have a family history of asthma or allergies are more prone to developing it. Many people who have asthma have allergies too and this is called allergic asthma.
Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job.
Childhood asthma impacts millions of children and their families. In fact, the majority of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five.
There is no cure for asthma, but once it is properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place you will be able to manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve
An allergist/immunologist is the best-qualified physician in diagnosing and treating asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can take control of your condition and participate in normal activities.
The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness or pain
• Chronic coughing
• Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing
If your child has one or more of these common symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist/immunologist:
• Coughing that is constant or that is made worse by viral infections, happens while your child is asleep, or is triggered by exercise and cold air
• Wheezing or whistling sound when your child exhales
• Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise
• Chest tightness (a young child may say that his chest “hurts” or “feels funny”)
• Fatigue (your child may slow down or stop playing)
• Problems feeding or grunting during feeding (infants)
• Avoiding sports or social activities
• Problems sleeping due to coughing or difficulty breathing
Patterns in asthma symptoms are important and can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Pay attention to when symptoms occur:
• At night or early morning
• During or after exercise
• During certain seasons
• After laughing or crying
• When exposed to common asthma triggers
People with asthma are at risk of developing complications from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. That is why it is important for asthma sufferers, especially adults, to get vaccinated annually.
With proper treatment and an asthma management plan, you can minimize your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.