Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that transport air to and from the lungs. No full cure is available, but management methods can help a person with asthma lead a full and active life.Asthma kills 10 people in the United States every day, and many of these deaths are avoidable. It is time to redefine the disease and bring diagnosis and treatment into the 21st century, says an international panel of experts.
In a person with asthma, the inside walls of the airways, known as bronchial tubes, become swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases their susceptibility to an allergic reaction.In an allergic reaction, the airways swell, and the muscles around the airway tighten, making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs.
There is, in fact, no such thing as one disease called asthma. Instead, asthma is an umbrella term for inflammation and swelling of the airways, which can result in a range of symptoms.Worryingly, asthma kills indiscriminately. Anyone with asthma is at risk, and individuals with mild or moderate asthma - including those with few symptoms, who do not routinely take medication - die at roughly the same rate as those who are under specialist care due to their symptoms.There are a number of factors known to put an individual at risk for developing certain forms of asthma, and asthma caused by allergies is the most common form of the condition.Immunotherapy treatment is increasingly being used to reduce allergic symptoms and there is some evidence that children who receive immunotherapy for their allergies are less likely to develop asthma.
Asthma is an incurable illness of the airways. The disease causes inflammation and narrowing inside the lung, restricting air supply.The symptoms of asthma often present in periodic attacks or episodes of tightness in the chest, wheezing, breathlessness, and coughing.During the development of asthma, the airways swell and become extremely sensitive to some of the substances a person might inhale.When this increased sensitivity causes a reaction, the muscles that control the airways tighten. In doing so, they might restrict the airways even further and trigger an overproduction of mucus.
Second-hand tobacco smoke causes severe problems for children with asthma. Between 400,000 and 1 million children experience worsening asthma symptoms as a result of second-hand smoke, according to the American Lung Association.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that children experience more emergency visits and admissions for asthma than adults.
Mild asthma might resolve without treatment during childhood. However, there is still a risk that the condition might return later on, especially if symptoms are moderate or severe.
Asthma in adults is often persistent and requires the daily management of flare-ups and preventing symptoms. Asthma can begin at any age.Allergies lead to at least 30 percent of adult presentations of asthma. Obesity is a strong risk factor for adult-onset asthma, and women are more likely to develop the condition after the age of 20 years.People over 65 years of age make up a large number of deaths from asthma.
This type occurs in response to allergens that are only in the surrounding environment at certain times of year, such as cold air in the winter or pollen during hay fever season.People still have asthma for the rest of the year but do not experience symptoms.
Air pollution both in and out of the home can impact the development and triggers of asthma.Allergic reactions and asthma symptoms often occur because of indoor air pollution from mold or noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints.Other asthma triggers in the home and environment include:
Young children who develop asthma symptoms before the age of 5 years find it more difficult to receive a clear diagnosis. Doctors might confuse asthma symptoms with those of other childhood conditions.If children experience wheezing episodes during colds or respiratory infections in early life, they are likely to develop asthma after 6 years of age.
Diagnosing asthma involves testing lung function and immune response, as well as assessing an individual for other condition with similar symptoms to asthma risk of asthma for young children.An asthma episode, or an asthma attack, is when symptoms are worse than usual. They can come on suddenly and can be mild, moderate or severe.