Asthma is a disease which affects the airways. This disease makes it difficult for the air to move to and from the lungs. The chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes or the airways causes constriction and swelling of the airways. It is possible to reduce the breathing difficulty caused by this disease using proper treatments. Asthma affects people of all ages. The effect of asthma on each person is different. Each person reacts in a different way to the triggers of asthma. So, the medication type and dose may vary according to the intensity of the problem and the factor that triggers asthma. It has been estimated that more than 300 million people in the world get affected by asthma every year.
What Causes Asthma?
The important factors that lead to asthma are
- Allergies -This is a major cause for asthma in people all over the world. It has been found that more than 25 % of people who have allergic Rhinitis or hay fever develop asthma. The antibodies in the blood react with the allergens and this reaction causes the inflammation in the airways, commonly seen in asthma patients. The sources of allergens in homes include hair and dry skin of dogs and cats, dust mites, fungi, cockroaches etc. The outdoor causes are exhaust from vehicles, pollens etc.
- Tobacco Smoke– This is the factor which is responsible for the high death rate due to asthma. Wheezing and respiratory diseases are common in smokers. People exposed to passive smoking at greater risk of developing asthma.
- Environmental Factors -Asthma symptoms result from air pollution. The fumes from household cleaners and paints trigger asthma in some people. Cold temperatures, cooking gas, high humidity are also known to cause asthma in certain individuals. In areas with polluted air nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone causes shortness of breath, coughing etc.
- Obesity -It has been found that overweight adults have more chances of developing asthma. If their BMI is between 25 and 30 then there is 38 % more chance for the person to experience asthma. These people have chances of developing non- allergic asthma.
- Genes -Genes play an important role in deciding whether a person is prone to asthma or not. It has been found that 3/5th of all the asthma cases are hereditary.
- Stress-People under stress are at greater risk of developing asthma. Stress encourages smoking and it indirectly results in asthma. Moreover there are changes happening in the immune system due to stress.
- Food -In some people asthma attack occurs by consuming food containing gluten, nuts or shrimps, some preservatives present in food or when taking anti inflammatory medicines.
How Asthma Does Affects The Breathing Process?
When a person gets affected by asthma, the following things happen
- Narrowing of the airways occurs due to the tightening of the muscles around it
- Only less amount of air flows through the airway
- The inflammation of the respiratory passage increases which further narrows the airway
- The flow of the air is further reduced by the excess production of the mucus by bronchial tubes.
The Narrowing Of The Passage Is Caused By Three Factors
- Inflammation – This is the major cause for narrowing of the airway. The bronchial tubes become red, swollen and irritated due to the triggers. The inflammation increases the thickness of the wall of the tubes resulting in constricted passage for the airflow. This inflammation is due to the working of the immune system of the body. The inflamed tissues produce more mucus which may plug the passage further.
- Bronchospasm– The muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten during an asthma attack. This is known as bronchospasm. This causes the airway to narrow further. This is increased by breathing cold or dry air.
- Hyperactivity– During asthma the airways become more sensitive due to triggers like allergens, irritants and infections. These triggers cause more inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes.
These factors collectively result in difficulty in exhaling causing the wheezing sound. Due to reduced inflow of oxygen and reduced expulsion of carbon dioxide from the lungs, the level of carbon dioxide increases in blood leading to dangerous conditions.
The Symptoms And Complications of Asthma
The expression of symptoms varies with people. Some may have the symptoms continuously whereas in others the symptoms occur only when exposed to allergic or non- allergic triggers. The common symptoms for asthma includes
• Tightness in the chest
• Shortness of breath
In people with severe asthma the symptoms mainly occur at night. Though wheezing is the most common symptom not everyone with asthma has this symptom.
Treating And Preventing Asthma
Since asthma is a chronic condition it will last a lifetime and there is no complete cure.
- The main goal of any asthma treatment will be to control the symptoms and provide a quality life for the person with asthma.
- By providing the asthma treatment the patient will be able do the normal activities and they will be able to reduce the use of rescue medications.
- You can reduce worst episodes of asthma by using some home remedies for asthma.
You can manage your asthma by avoiding triggers and using some home remedies to prevent severe attacks. However it is not always possible to prevent the asthma attack.Any exposure to allergens or infections of the respiratory tract can cause acute attack. If the asthma is unresponsive to the home remedies or to the quick- relief medications, it is necessary to seek medical attention. If you can understand the warning signs of asthma attack, you can do the necessary home remedies to reduce the intensity of the attack.
Simple Home Remedies For Asthma
Do Not Pet A Pet
If you are suffering from asthma, then it is better for you to not pet any pet animals like dog, cat or a bird. The dead and the dry skin of the pets called the dander is the main allergens that can easel trigger asthma in humans. So, it is advised that you stay away or in fact do not pet an animal that has the tendency to trigger asthma. If you have direct contact with your pet, it is very important for you to wash your hands immediately. If you cannot keep your hands off your pet, then try to keep your face away when you are petting your pet.
Banish Dust Mites
One of the most important home remedies for asthma is to get rid of dust mites from your home. These mites usually are found in your bedroom as they are interested in dead skins that you shed regularly from your body. Some of the tips to reduce the amount of mites in your home are:
• Always cover your mattress with an airtight cover and then use the bed sheets over the mattress.
• Use polyester pillows and also seal these pillows with airtight dust covers before covering them with pillow covers.
• Avoid using rugs and carpets on your home floors.
• Wash bed sheets in hot water and synthetic blankets within 10 to 14 days time.
• Never use dust catchers in your home and avoid storing out of season bed sheets and clothes in your bedroom.
Fight Molds In Homes
Molds, mildew, dry rot and other fungi produce spores which can easily trigger asthma. So, try to prevent the development of fungi spores in your home by:
• Try to keep your home windows closed as far as possible.
• Wear face mask when you clean darker areas in your home like behind bathroom cabinets, under the sink and so on.
• Check unused shoes and closets regularly to check if there is no mold growth.
• Also check house plants, humidifiers, air conditioners in your home for mold growth.
Pollen is released by plants when it blooms and it is normally seen during spring time and early summer.
• Pollination by wind is the one that easily triggers asthma in people with mild symptoms of asthma.
• It is important to not stand outside when the grass is mowed and do not indulge in cutting grass. If you experience warm weather, make sure that you use an air conditioner to cool your room.
• If you have been outside in fields or polluted areas, it is better for you to change the clothes and to wash yourself as well as your hair to prevent from pollen triggering asthma.
Stop Tobacco Smoking
Tobacco is the main ingredient in the cigarettes that you use and the cigarette smoke is an irritant that triggers asthma. Even people who passively smoke would become victims of asthma if they inhale the smoke. So, advise smokers in your home to smoke outdoors and not indoors. It would be better for them to stop smoking.
Be Wary Of Weather
The changes in the weather patterns can trigger asthma. People with asthma are recommended to stay indoors during cold weather or during strong winds. Rain is the best time for you to go outside as rain washes away pollens, irritants and allergens in the air.
One of the main home remedies for asthma is to practice yoga. There are a lot of people who tend to suffer from asthma due to stress and strain of everyday life. Breathing exercises used in yoga are the best way to control asthma breathing and will also keep you fresh, stress free and healthy.
Stay Away From Alcohol
It is very important for you to stay away from alcohol and wine if you are suffering from asthma symptoms. The sulfites in the wine can trigger allergic symptoms in your body.
Self Health Protection
It is important for you to self protect your body so that you do not catch asthma easily. Some of the ways to stay away from asthma triggers are:
• Never be close to people suffering from cold or flu
• Increase the intake of fluids
• Take a flu shot once every year
• Avoid getting overtired
Avoid Certain Drugs
One of the best ways to prevent asthma is to avoid taking aspirin or medicines that easel trigger asthma. Anti inflammatory drugs and aspirins are a strict no–no for people suffering from asthma.
One of the effective home remedies for asthma is to add a pinch of powdered turmeric in your milk and try to consume it on a daily basis on an empty stomach.