Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the airways and makes it difficult to breathe. According to WHO, it affected an estimated 262 million people around the world in 2019. It is characterized by episodes of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, tightness, pain or pressure in your chest, or trouble sleeping because of breathing problems. It can range from mild to severe.
Causes and symptoms of asthma
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways, which can be triggered by a variety of factors, including allergies, respiratory infections, exercise, and exposure to certain substances or irritants. When the airways become inflamed, they can narrow and produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe.
While it is not uncommon for people to develop asthma without having a family history of the condition, research has shown that there is a genetic component to asthma.
People who have a family history of asthma are more likely to develop the condition themselves, especially if they have other risk factors, such as allergies or a history of respiratory infections. However, it is important to note that genetics is just one factor that can contribute to the development of asthma. Environmental factors, such as exposure to allergens or irritants, can also play a role.
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be effectively managed with proper treatment. The most common treatment for asthma is the use of inhaled medications, such as bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, which help to open the airways and reduce inflammation. These medications can be taken on an as-needed basis or used regularly to help control the condition.
In some cases, asthma may require additional treatment, such as allergy shots or medications taken by mouth. It is important for people with asthma to work with their healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their individual needs.
While medication will probably be key to getting your asthma under control, you can also do some things at home to help. These include avoiding asthma triggers, exercising regularly, stay at a healthy weight, doing breathing exercises to ease symptoms.
It is also important for people with asthma to take steps to avoid triggers that can cause asthma attacks. This may include avoiding exposure to allergens, avoiding tobacco smoke, and staying up to date on vaccinations to prevent respiratory infections.
Furthermore in terms of tech to help asthma under control, some remarkable progress has been made. There are “Smart” inhalers – devices that monitor when doses are taken and can provide reminder and feedback – improving medication adherence and improved control in children with asthma. Apps for smartphones that allow patients to minitor and log essential asthma information and track medication.
Overall, with proper treatment and management, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan and learn how to manage the condition effectively.