Bronchial Asthma

What is Bronchial Asthma?

Bronchial asthma is a medical condition which causes the airway path of the lungs to swell and narrow. Due to this swelling, the air path produces excess mucus making it hard to breathe, which resu...

Symptoms

The symptoms may vary from individual to individual and depends on environmental factors. A person may show regular symptoms of the disease or periodic symptoms that may prompt at a certain time. The most common signs of asthma that can help diagnose the disease are:

  • Breathlessness or short breath while talking, laughing, or running.
  • Chest Pain or tightness.
  • Sleep apnea or trouble while sleeping caused by breathlessness.
  • Coughing or wheezing (whistling sound from chest while sleeping or lying down).
  • Cold and flu due to viral infection.

Causes

Though the root cause of bronchial asthma is unclear, it occurs largely due to environmental or genetic factors. The factors that trigger an asthma reaction are:

  • Exposure to substances such as pollen, dust, animal fur, sand, and bacteria, which triggers allergic reactions.
  • Viral Infection like cold and flu, or pneumonia.
  • Air Pollution, smoke, fumes from vehicles, etc.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Physical activity or exercise induced asthma.
  • Medications like aspirin, Ibuprofen, beta-blockers, etc.
  • Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Perfumes and fragrances.
  • Weather, especially extreme changes in temperature.
  • Food additives (such as MSG).

Risks

The main risk factors include:

  • Family history (parent or sibling) of bronchial asthma.
  • Susceptive to an allergic reaction such as atopic dermatitis or hay fever.
  • Habits which make you overweight.
  • Smoking, or passive smoking.
  • Exposure to chemical fumes or pollution, and irritants from hair sprays or perfumes.

Prevention

In order to prevent the occurrence of the disease, one should take care of the following:

  • Avoid doing any vigorous exercise.
  • Take adequate diet.
  • Use an asthma inhaler prescribed only by the doctor.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, a doctor will first perform a physical exam to rule out signs associated with other diseases. The diagnosis include:

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How is it treated?

Bronchial asthma is categorized as a chronic ailment. Prevention and control is the key to cure the disease. Steps involved in the treatment are:

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  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

    Drugs like corticosteroids (mometasone, flunisolide, etc.) are long-term medications and need time to reach maximum benefits. In cases of an asthma attack, oral medications like Accolate and Zyflo can provide relief for the day.

  • Inhaled bronchodilators

     They act rapidly to ease symptoms of an attack. 

  • Ipratropium (Atrovent)

    When inhaled, it reacts quickly to relax the bronchi airways, thus restoring easy breathing. The medicine is used to treat chronic bronchitis and severe asthma attacks.

When do I contact the doctor?

Frequent episodes of coughing, wheezing, and causing short breath are the first indicators of the onset of this disease. The signs and symptoms demand medical attention and consultation with a specialist immediately.

Book an Appointment

How does Medanta provide care?

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Consult with experienced doctors

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