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Asthma: resources

From Asthma: resources

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Asthma is a medical condition resulting from narrowing of airways. Asthma may make it more difficult for a person to breathe air in and out of the lungs. Asthma occurs from increased sensitivity of the airways. Outside substances such as pollen, dust, air pollution smoke or varieties of other things that may cause allergy are known as allergens. When a person with increased sensitivity of the airway gets exposed allergens or irritants, airways react with an inflammatory response causing swelling and narrowing of the small airways. As the airways gets narrower the person may find that it is getting harder to breathe. The breathing difficulty is not always present. Asthma attacks can be intermittent or persistent with varying severity. Some times patients may not have any symptoms for a long time, but some other times they may be in severe recurrent respiratory difficulty.

Asthma can occur in children and adults. The most common symptom of asthma is difficulty in breathing. The narrowing of the airways may cause audible respiratory sounds called wheezing. Asthma may also be associated with cough and mucous production. Patients with asthma may get a feeling of chest tightness when they are exposed to cold.

The exact reason why some people are more sensitive to allergens is unknown. If you have a close family member affected with asthma your risk of developing asthma is higher compared to the general population. Having a parent with asthma is the most important risk factor for the development of asthma. Children who have multiple allergies may have a higher risk of developing asthma. Girls have a higher risk of developing asthma as compared to boys.

An asthma attack can be triggered by many factors. The following are some examples.

  • Pollen
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Molds, animal dander
  • Cockroach allergens
  • Exposure to cold
  • Exercise
  • Respiratory infection
  • Stress
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Irritants (chemicals, perfumes)

There are many good treatment options available for asthma. The main aim of the treatment is to decrease the narrowing of the airways. Medications to decrease the inflammation and swelling of the airways are also often used. Since asthma is an incurable disease, regular care from your physician is important. It is not wise to wait until you develop problems to consult your physician.

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Relapse: Relapse is used interchangeably with recurrence. See Recurrence aboveSee cancer terms for more cancer related terms. Asthma: resources

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