Asthma is a chronic disease of windpipes in which patients has repeated attacks of cough, whistling sounds from chest and breathing difficulty. It is one of the most common problem that is occurring amongst the general population. The present scenario has many school children also suffering from asthma due to growing pollution levels.
The asthma attacks are triggered on exposure to certain environmental factors called allergens which may be dust, fungal spores, pollen dust,animal dander, strong smell, cold air, tobacco smoke, air pollutants. These allergen cause irritation of windpipes and cause edema(swelling) of the walls of windpipes. This result in narrowing of lumes of windpipes causing symptoms.
Three clinical patterns of asthma
- Asthma can be seasonal only occurs during particular season and no symptoms in between
- Asthma can be perennial where symptoms are perennial (throughout the year)
- Asthma can be perennial with seasonal worsening(worsening with season change)
It is a myth that asthma is incurable disease. Rather asthma is a disease which can be easily treated.One must understand that asthma begins with allergy of windpipes and symptoms of asthma can recur during allergy season.
So, the goal of asthma treatment is to –
1 minimise symptoms due to asthma
2 no disruption of sleep due to asthma symptoms
3 normal physical activity
4 no abstinence from school or workplace due to asthma
5 normal or near normal lung function
6 no attack of asthma
7 no asthma related death.
We have two types of asthma medications
- Preventive medications which decrease the swelling of windpipes walls
- Relievers medications which just relives symptoms and no effect on swelling of windpipe walls
These preventive medicines are best given through inhalers which gives instant relief as the medicine is inhaled directly into the lungs. These medicine needs to be taken regularly to prevent the constriction of windpipes.Relievers are helpful in acute attack and relief of symptoms.
Some people believe that inhales are habit forming which is a myth. Inhalers are just one method of delivering medication in the lungs and gives quick relief with no side effects.