Asthma – Symptoms and Triggers

Asthma is a common respiratory disease that affects a person’s airways. Around 7 percent of the US population has asthma, ranging from mild to chronic types. During an asthma attack, the bronchi constricts, obstructing the airflow. In chronic cases, it can cause long term lung inflammation.

There are several factors that cause asthma and they are mainly genetic or environmental factors. According to some studies, environmental factors include air pollution, stress, and viral respiratory infections. These factors apparently can influence how severe an individual’s asthma would be and how well that individual would respond to medication. Some people who got asthma as children sometimes outgrow it while ones who got the condition through environmental factors may have it for life.

In mild cases, asthma may only manifest with just a few sneezes; though most asthma attacks usually go with wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing. These symptoms can be compounded by flu or colds and difficulty sleeping at night due to coughing. Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Allergens like dust, pollen and mold, sudden changes in temperature, stress, exercise, and air pollution can trigger an asthma attack. Early signs of asthma include irregular breathing, coughing, difficulty speaking, plus stuffy nose, fatigue, and itchy throat.

Emergency help may be needed during severe asthma attacks, so those who have asthma or have a family member with the condition should remember to keep emergency numbers and inhalers handy.

There are a couple prescription medications for those with asthma like beta-2 agonists, corticosteroids, and leukotriene antagonists, though those with mild asthma can try out home remedies. One popular technique to stop an asthma attack is to breathe inside a paper bag. Though this is only a temporary solution to hyperventilating, the technique does help regulate air intake.

Another highly recommended home remedy for asthma is chamomile. Chamomile is known to give some calming effects, and reportedly, it contains natural antihistamine properties as well. Other herbal remedies include ginger and nettle leaves, among other things. Some activities are also recommended to help people with asthma regulate their breathing, like swimming. Activities like yoga that relax the body and reduce stress are also prescribed to asthmatic individuals.

Those who suffer from asthma should always be on the lookout for their asthma triggers and keep away from them as much as possible. Also, it is important to always have medication handy in case an attack strikes.


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