What Is Asthma and How Can I Prevent It

General Health

What Is Asthma and How Can I Prevent It

There is currently no known cure for asthma but its symptoms can be managed once your triggers are identified.


Asthma or “hika” is a chronic condition that causes your airways to suddenly narrow and can result to difficulty in breathing. There is currently no known cure for asthma but its symptoms can be managed once your triggers are identified.

Symptoms

According to Mayo Clinic, an asthma attack causes your bronchial tubes to become inflamed after exposure to your triggers. You may experience chest pains, shortness of breath and wheezing/coughing during an asthma attack. Some episodes can feel worse than usual and may require medical attention if your usual reliever inhaler isn’t working for you anymore.  

Causes

The exact cause of asthma can be a combination of irritants from your environment and other inherited factors. Exposure to certain allergens can also result in symptoms of asthma—triggers may vary and can include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Physical exertion (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Pet dander
  • Stress
  • Air pollution
  • Sulfites
  • Cold weather

 

Risk factors

Young children are more likely to develop asthma that can persist beyond six years of age. If your parents had asthma, then it is likely that you are also at risk of the condition. Occupational exposure is also a major common risk factor for adult asthma. Other health conditions which may also increase your chances of developing asthma include allergies, eczema, and other chronic lung diseases.  

What to do

Having an asthma attack can be a just a minor nuisance for those who have had it since their childhood years but it can be life-threatening to some individuals as well. The NHS recommends following these steps if you feel an asthma attack coming:

  • Sit upright and take slow, deep breaths
  • Remain calm
  • Take one puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds (max 10 puffs)

Call your local emergency hotline if your reliever inhaler isn’t working for you anymore. You should also inform your healthcare provider of your approved treatment plan for your asthma to help with your diagnosis.  

Prevention

As mentioned, there is still no available cure for asthma, but its symptoms can be managed by reducing your exposure to your known triggers. Take preventive measures by wearing a face mask when you’re commuting and avoiding cold/dry areas which may cause asthma flare-ups. Keep your medications on hand like a quick-acting inhaler so you are always prepared.  

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