World Asthma Day 2017: Causes, symptoms and treatments for Asthma

Chethana Prakasan
World Asthma Day is held on the first Tuesday of May.

Organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), World Asthma Day is held to raise asthma awareness across the globe. GINA was launched in 1992 by the US-based National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Who for the management and prevention of asthma. The first World Asthma Day was celebrated in the year 1998.  It is commemorated on the first Tuesday every year. World Asthma Day 2017 falls on May 2. Asthma is a long term chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs making it difficult to breath. The airways of the lunges are affected and the lungs swell up and become inflamed. According to many studies, the increasing pollution levels have been linked to the rise in asthma cases, especially among teenagers and children. Here’s everything you need to know about asthma. (ALSO READ Natural remedies for allergy relief: These 5 home remedies will give you relief from seasonal allergies)

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma can be described as an inflammatory disease of airways of the lungs characterized by coughing, wheezing, chest tightening and shortness of breath. Episodes of coughing and wheezing can happen a few times in a week or several times in a day. Sometimes the symptoms become worse with exercise, at night, cold air or in the morning. The septum, produced by cough, in the lungs may appear during recovering from an episode and it may have a pale white color due to the presence of high concentrations of white blood cells. There are several health conditions associated with asthma like obstructive sleep apnea and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the causes of asthma?

A combination of genetic and environmental interactions is behind this lung disease. The factors responsible for the development of asthma may vary from person to person. Here are some of the asthma triggers.

Genetic: If there is a family history of asthma, then there is an increased risk of the disease. You are more likely to develop asthma if one of your biological parents had or has asthma.

Airborne substance: Spores, pollens, dust, mold and other particles may trigger asthma. There are several environmental factor linked to the development of asthma including chemicals and air pollutants.(ALSO READ Home remedies for cold: Natural remedies for treating common cold)

Medications: Some medications like aspirin, beta blocker and ibuprofen have been associated with the development of asthma.

Respiratory infections: Viral respiratory infections like common cold and rhinovirus may up the risk of asthma.

Preservative in food: Preservatives and sulfites present in some beverages and foods like dried fruit, shrimps, beer and processed food may trigger asthma.

Emotional and physical activity: Sometimes stress, strong emotions and strenuous exercise may cause asthma attack. (ALSO READ Eating sausages, bacon linked to worsening of asthma).

What are the treatments for asthma?

There is no cure for asthma but the symptoms can be improved with the use of inhalers. Identifying the triggers is essential for effective treatment of the symptoms. The treatment plan should include avoiding exposure to the allergen as well as monitoring the symptoms and managing it. Some of the common triggers or allergens include cigarette smoke and pollen. Yoga is effective in improving the symptoms.

For quick relief, doctors recommend Bronchodilators. Low-dose inhaled corticosteroids are also prescribed for those with mild disease and for severe cases a higher inhaled corticosteroids dose is prescribed.

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