This article explains some medical facts of Bronchial asthma disease, which even a common man can understand easily.
Definition of Bronchial asthma
Asthma is a disease of the lungs, in particular of the respiratory tract, which narrow, become inflamed and blocked by mucus. These changes in the airways cause respiratory problems, which is characteristic of asthma.
Asthma makes breathing difficult by inhaling and exhaling. That’s why the classic symptoms of asthma are wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If the blockade of the airway is serious, the attack can limit physical actions or lead to the need to call an ambulance. People who have asthma under control, between attacks, the lungs are working normally or practically normal, without shortness of breath or shortness of breath.
Who is at risk?
Asthma can develop in any person at any age, both in infancy and in old age. Some children have asthma with age. Asthma is a bit more exposed to boys than girls. Asthma is more common in the black population than in the white man. Medical research suggests that the causes of asthma can be both heredity and the environment.
During breathing, air, passing through the nose or mouth, enters the large windpipe or trachea. The trachea branches into many small tubes, bronchuses, which in turn branch into even smaller tubes, bronchioles that permeate all the lungs. Bronchiols end in formations similar to pouches, which are called alveoli.
Breathing paths “work in both directions.” Oxygen enters the lungs through the respiratory tract and through them carbon dioxide is removed from the body and other harmful gases. This exchange occurs in the alveoli, which suck in oxygen and remove unnecessary gases from the lungs.
Irritants of the respiratory tract
Most asthma attacks begin with irritation of the bronchioles, which provoke constriction of the airways. The main reason for such irritation is allergy and upper respiratory tract infections. However, asthma can be caused by physical exercises, acid reflux, aspirin and sulphites (which are found in dishes, certain wine and beer of most restaurants).
Construction of bronchioles, excessive mucus formation
When bronchioles are exposed to the action of stimuli, they begin to narrow. Because of this, there is very little space for air circulation. In addition, irritated bronchioles are filled with mucus, which contains cells of the immune system. The body begins to produce these cells to fight irritants. But instead mucus clogs the bronchioles and from this they narrow even more. Severe constriction of bronchioles and excessive mucus formation cause difficulty in breathing. In case of a severe attack, urgent hospitalization may be required.
Prevention and treatment
Therapy consists of medications designed to prevent an asthma attack, as well as medications used to stop an attack. An asthmatic should be extremely careful in taking medication. Medicines should be taken at strictly defined times and should not be mixed with each other. This is very important, as some drugs help only for prevention, but do not work to stop the attack. Medications for preventing and stopping an attack can be taken with the help of an inhaler.
Prevention of an asthma attack
The first step in preventing asthma attacks is to identify and avoid contact with the substances that cause the attack. It can be pets, insects, dust and humidity, tobacco smoke, fluff in pillows, woolen products and carpets with thick pile.
If these measures do not help, you need to take certain medications for prevention. Most often the doctor prescribes inhalers and / or tablets. Inhalers prescribed to prevent asthma attacks should be used daily and 2-3 times a day.
Steroid inhalers prevent inflammation, thereby reducing the formation of mucus that clogs the bronchioles. There are also non-steroidal inhalers that reduce inflammation and help prevent asthma attacks.
Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators contain a drug that prevents an asthma attack during contact with the “causative agent” of asthma. For example, with an allergic substance – the hair of domestic animals. This is important: this kind of inhaler is not effective in stopping an asthma attack.
Tablets are also used to prevent an asthma attack. Some people take steroids in tablets daily for many weeks or years. Nevertheless, doctors try to prescribe steroids in tablets only as a last resort, since they have many side effects, for example, overweight and diabetes. The newest drugs that prevent asthma attacks are the leukotriene stabilizer, for example, Accolate, Singulair and Zyflo. These drugs are used to reduce the dose (and correspondingly side effects) of steroids in tablets. Depending on the patient’s condition, inhaled steroids can be replaced with a stabilizer of leukotriene.
Asthma Attack Treatment
In the treatment of the attack includes the disclosure of obstructed airways and stopping the formation of excessive amounts of mucus. Sometimes the airways are so narrowed, and the aggravation of the disease is very serious, that you need to urgently call an ambulance to: 1) open the bronchioles and 2) take intravenous steroids that reduce inflammation. Some people after the attack need some time to stay under the supervision of doctors in the hospital. If the attack is very severe, the patient is connected to the artificial respiration device until the breathing is normalized.
In less severe attacks, hospitalization may not be required. It is enough to take a fast-acting bronchodilator to stop an attack, which is much faster than the drugs used for prevention. Bronchodilators open the airways for several minutes.
After an attack within a week, you need to take oral steroids – this will reduce inflammation of bronchioles. (Taking steroids for a short period will bring fewer side effects than for a long period.) If the bacterial infection is the cause of the attack, the doctor can also prescribe antibiotics.
This is important: during an attack of asthma, you need to continue taking the prescribed medications regularly, until the doctor appoints something else.
Prevention and effective treatment of asthma is the main subject of continuous and intensive medical research. If you or a person close to you want to know more about asthma, see a doctor.