Asthma: Causes, symptoms and care

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. With asthma, there is inflammation of the air passages that result in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs.

Priyanka Chopra’s battle with asthma since she was 5-years-old

Priyanka Chopra the successful actor, vocalist and wife to Nick Jonas is someone who is seen to lead a ‘perfect’ life. But how many of you knew about her health condition that left her fans both concerned and glad.

Miss Piggy Chops has been asthmatic since she was 5 years old, the former Miss World poured her heart out while tweeting about a campaign.

“Those who know me well know that I’m an asthmatic. I mean, what’s to hide? I knew that I had to control my asthma before it controlled me. As long as I’ve got my inhaler, asthma can’t stop me from achieving my goals & living #BerokZindagi,” she said.

Priyanka Chopra, Actor

The actress had partnered with pharmaceutical company Cipla Respiratory to create awareness about the condition to break the stigma surrounding its treatment.

ALSO READ: Nick Jonas faces backlash over cigar & Priyanka’s asthma condition

Even we would like to join hand in this initiative and start spreading awareness about asthma. Keep reading to know more.

There is no such cure for Asthma but you for sure can control the symptoms because asthma often changes over time, so, it is necessary to consult the doctor to get timely solutions for the symptoms and get treated accordingly.

Symptoms

Symptoms for asthma may vary from person to person so keep an eye on the symptoms you are facing.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Aching or tightness in the chest.
  • Facing problem while sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Following are the symptoms that indicate that your asthma is probably worsening:

  • You see the symptoms happening more often and cause trouble.
  • Increasing difficulty in breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
  • You have to use the quick-relief inhaler again and again.
  • For some people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations:
  • Exercise-induced asthma, this can get worse if the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mould spores, cockroach waste or particles of skin and dried saliva shed by pets (pet dander)

When to see a doctor

Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening. Visit the doctor if you face any of the followings.

Signs of an asthma emergency include:

  • Rapid worsening of shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Helpless even after using the quick-relief inhaler.
  • Feeling Shortness of breath while doing the minimal physical activities.

Causes

Nobody has the proper reason to explain why only some people get asthma and others don’t, but it’s probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors.

ALSO READ: Nick Jonas faces backlash over cigar & Priyanka’s asthma condition

Asthma triggers

Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
  • Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Getting in contact with Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat

Prevention

We can’t really prevent asthma but there can be a step-by-step plan for living with your condition and preventing asthma attacks. It is recommended to consult your doctor regarding this and plan it properly.

Follow your asthma action plan – Design a detailed with your doctor and health care team for taking medications and managing an asthma attack. After that be sure that you don’t miss it.

Get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia. Staying current with vaccinations can prevent flu and pneumonia from triggering asthma flare-ups.

Identify and avoid asthma triggers. A number of outdoor allergens and irritants — ranging from pollen and mold to cold air and air pollution — can trigger asthma attacks. Find out what causes or worsens your asthma, and take steps to avoid those triggers.

Monitor your breathing. You may learn to recognize warning signs of an impending attack, such as slight coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. But because your lung function may decrease before you notice any signs or symptoms, regularly measure and record your peak airflow with a home peak flow meter.

Identify and treat attacks early. If you act quickly, you’re less likely to have a severe attack. You also won’t need as much medication to control your symptoms.

ALSO READ: Nick Jonas faces backlash over cigar & Priyanka’s asthma condition

When your peak flow measurements decrease and alert you to an oncoming attack, take your medication as instructed and immediately stop any activity that may have triggered the attack. If your symptoms don’t improve, get medical help as directed in your action plan.

Take your medication as prescribed – Don’t make any changes in your plan even when you see the signs of getting better. Consult the doctor and bring your medications with you to each doctor visit, so your doctor can double-check that you’re using your medications correctly and taking the right dose.

Pay attention to increasing quick-relief inhaler use. If you find yourself relying on your quick-relief inhaler then your asthma isn’t under control. See your doctor about adjusting your treatment.

If you think your medication is not working, let your health-care provider know right away. And we wish Priyanka and other asthmatic patients a healthy and smoke free living.


About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

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