What are the symptoms of asthma?

Are you asthmatic?

If you are obese, under constant stress, suffering from hay fever or exposed to pollution and tobacco smoke, then you have chances of being asthmatic.

Asthma is a disease that affects the pulmonary airways that  carries air to the lungs. The insides are swollen which makes the airway sensitive and susceptible to allergic reactions. The swelling narrows down the airways, thus allowing less air to pass to and from the lungs.  Asthma attacks vary from person-to-person. Sometimes oxygen is prevented from entering the blood stream and other vital organs which can be deadly. The attacks can range from mild to moderate to being severe. When a person gets an attack, the oxygen is not allowed into the lungs and carbon dioxide does not expel faster. Carbon dioxide can turn out to be poisonous if allowed to build up in the lungs.

Children are more likely to be at risk, especially those with low birth weight, exposed to tobacco smoke and pollution, allergies, or skin disease eczema.

Symptoms of asthma

Spotting early warning signs of asthma can prevent it from getting worse. The red flags are:

  • Coughing frequently, mainly at night or after exercise.
  • Getting tired easily or frequent mood swings.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing issues, particularly after workout session.
  • Catching cold often or suffering from allergies like sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, runny nose, etc.
  • Finding it difficult to sleep.

During an asthma attack, the muscles surrounding the airways tighten which is called bronchospasm. Factors like bronchospasm, swelling and increase in mucus causes the above mentioned symptoms. Other symptoms include:

  • Severe wheezing problems causing it difficult to talk.
  • Continuous coughing and heavy breathing.
  • Chest pain and retraction of neck and chest muscles.
  • Sweaty face and fingernails and lips turning blue due to less oxygen. This symptom is called cyanosis.
  • Feeling anxious.

What triggers asthma?

There are many factors that can trigger asthma.

  • Dust, pollen from plants, fur of animals, molds.
  • Air pollution, cigarette smoke, chemicals, hairspray, pillows and mattress at workplace or home.
  • Medicines like aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Sulphites present in eatables.

Precautions

To get immediate relief, inhaler or broncho-dilator is a must. There are also tablets that can open up the airways. The precautions are tailor-made as per symptoms of an individual.

If you are asthmatic, see a qualified allergist who will find out what triggers your symptoms and help you avoid them. Asthma is a long-lasting illness which has no cure but with good quality asthma treatment, an asthmatic can lead a normal and active lifestyle.

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