Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways of the lungs that leads them to swallowing and narrowing, thus leading to symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, chest congestion, etc. Well, the disease is quite common and occurs in almost all age groups. It can be classified as atopic(extrinsic) or non-atopic(intrinsic) asthma. The condition generally occurs when bronchial tubes becomes highly sensitive to allergens or irritants. Allergic individuals are more prone towards this disease as bronchial tubes are more likely to swell and constrict when exposed to triggers such as allergens, tobacco smoke, etc. Every asthmatic person has a different degree of reaction towards environmental triggers and the condition can be varied from person to person. The disease is diagnosed based on the symptoms.
Types of Asthma:
Asthma may be categorized as allergic(extrinsic) or non-allergic(intrinsic) asthma. Allergic asthma is more common than non-allergic and most of the patients suffer from this. It generally develops in childhood and most of the children who suffer from extrinsic asthma also have documented allergies. However, the condition disappears naturally in early adulthood but in most of the cases the condition re-appears later.
Non-allergic or intrinsic asthma is not associated with allergies and it generally occurs after the age of 30. Women are more prone to intrinsic asthma and in most of the cases it occurs in relation with a respiratory tract infection. It requires effective treatment as the symptoms are chronic.
The causes are many but mostly it occurs due to genetic or environmental factors. There are many triggers that can cause asthma and they can be classified as allergens or non-allergens.
Some common allergens are dust, animals, insects, molds, seasonal pollens, foods such as egg, fish, peanut, work-related agents such as latex, epoxides, etc.
Non-allergens are usually irritants such as respiratory infections, tobacco smoke, certain drugs such as aspirin, NSAIDs , and the ones given to hypertensive patients, environmental factors such as smog, fumes, smell of certain indoor components such as paints, deodrants, perfumes, etc, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, exercise, work related factors such as chemicals, dust, metals and gases.
Signs and Symptoms:
The symptoms of asthma differs from one person to another but some common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath that gets worse with exertion or during night
- Cough with or without sputum
- Chest congestion while breathing
Asthma may be developed by anyone and at any point of time. The condition should not be overlooked and you must consult your physician from making it severe.