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Asthma/ Chronic Infections

Does frequent asthma leave you with fatigue and with feelings of depression? If you have asthma, you’re not alone. In India alone, about 1.31 billion people suffer from asthma.
Asthma is long-term chronic (long-standing) lung disease that makes breathing difficult. This happens as a result of one’s airways in the lungs to become narrow and swell, and may produce extra mucus.

Symptoms

Apart from breathing difficulties, this condition can trigger coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound while exhaling) and shortness of breath.

Other signs include:

Chest tightness,
pain or pressure

Coughing or wheezing worsens
when you catch a cold or flu

Trouble in sleeping because
of shortness of breath

Types

  • Depending on the severity of the asthma attack, it can be categorised as intermittent (where asthma symptoms come and go) or persistent (where asthma symptoms stay most of the time).
  • Depending on its onset in life, it can be paediatric (before age 5) or adult-onset (after 18)
  • For some, asthma can be triggered by certain situations.

» Exercise-induced asthma: Asthma is triggered because of prolonged or strenuous exercise which results in shortness of breath. The air and moisture around your nose can also affect this type of asthma.

» Occupation-induced asthma: Your occupation could trigger asthma, when you have to work with chemicals or dust.

Depending on the cause, asthma can be of 3 types broadly:

  • Allergic asthma: Different allergies could trigger asthma, such as pollen, mold, or pet dander.
  • Non-allergic asthma: Asthma is not due to allergies. Reasons are not very well understood.
  • Cough-variant asthma: People with this type of asthma often have a dry, non-productive cough (no mucus is produced). They do not experience any other common asthma symptoms, except coughing.

Any previous allergies, other respiratory disorders, environmental factors and genetics are said to have played role in the asthma occurrence.

Diagnosis & treatment

  • With careful observation of your symptoms, previous allergies and health history in general; your healthcare provider may order for blood tests, skin tests, chest X-ray or spirometry to diagnose your type of allergy.
  • Treatment includes a combination of medicines, inhalers, or therapies that ease your asthma symptoms and relax your airways.

References:

  1. Cleveland. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/6424-asthma Accessed on 28-03-2022
  2. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369660 Accessed on 28-03-2022
  3. MedlinePlus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/asthma.html Accessed on 28-03-2022
  4. American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma Accessed on 28-03-2022
  5. Allergic asthma. MedlinePlus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/allergic-asthma/ Accessed on 28-03-2022

FAQ's :

No one is born with asthma. However, you may be born with faulty genes that are responsible for you to develop asthma in infancy or later years in life.

Asthma is similar, but it is not considered as an autoimmune disorder. Asthma is caused by an overreaction from an immune system to certain triggers, whereas in an autoimmune disorder immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

Asthma can be genetic, though not all cases of asthma are inherited. Asthma tends to run in families. It depends on different genes that you inherit from families.

Genetic testing is difficult but research is being done for this. Gene profiling (understanding your gene and how they express) is needed for treatment and prevention.

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