Asthma is a chronic Respiratory Disease in which airways constrict causing difficulty in breathing. The degree of severity varies in Asthma sufferers. Symptoms of Asthma include: coughing (from the build-up on mucus in the lungs), wheezing, and other signs of Respiratory distress. Environmental triggers can induce Asthma including contact with: Allergens such as dust or pollen, or with Irritants such as smoke or other Chemicals. Other ways Asthma is caused are by: exercise, having recurrent Respiratory Infections, having Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), having an Allergic Reaction in response to a Food Allergy, being exposed to cold air, and being stressed.
Risk Factors for developing Asthma include: being overweight, smoking, being born at a low Birth Weight, heredity, and exposure to Allergens or Pollutants. The Diagnosis of Asthma may be challenging as Asthma has many similarities to other Respiratory Conditions. Diagnosis of Asthma is often confirmed through examination, Pulmonary Function Tests such as: Peak Flow and Spirometry. In some cases, a Metacholine Challenge Test or rarely, a Nitric Oxide Test may also be used for confirmation in diagnosing Asthma. The effectiveness of treatment for Asthma depends upon the severity of the disease.
Asthma sufferers are classified by the severity of the condition into four groups including: Mild Intermittent, Mild Persistent, Moderate Persistent, and Severe Persistent. In Mild Intermittent Asthma, symptoms appear less than two times in a week. In Mild Persistent Asthma, symptoms or attacks may occur more than two times a week, but not daily. There are minor limitations in activities. When daily symptoms of Asthma appear, it is considered Moderate Persistent Asthma. This type of Asthma does lead to some restrictions on daily activity. Severe Persistent Asthma causes many restrictions on activity, as attacks occur often throughout the day.
Prescribed medications are the main form of treatment for Asthma attacks and for Prevention Therapy. These medications may include Bronchodilators (quick-acting), Allergy medications, and Corticosteroids. In addition lifestyle changes may help in preventing Flare-Ups of Asthma. Through close monitoring of severity of the condition and Asthma Flare-Ups, Treatment Plans for Asthma sufferers may change over time. Through Clinical Research, there is hope for people suffering with Asthma.