Know about Bronchial Asthma and Its Symptoms

What’s the one health issue that is gaining momentum in India with increasing air pollution?

Yes, you guessed it correctly.

It’s bronchial asthma or asthma, as you may know.

3% of India’s population, which corresponds to approx. 30 million people in India are affected by asthma. These figures comprise 4-20% of children and 2.4% of adults, as per reports.

The increasing number of asthma cases is a matter of grave concern. You must understand what are the symptoms of bronchial asthma.

What is Bronchial Asthma? What are its symptoms?

Asthma is a chronic condition that hampers the breathing process.

When asthma becomes intense and affects the bronchial tubes, it results in inflamed channels. The swollen airways make it difficult to breathe. The mast cells present in the air chamber activate and secrete histamine. Histamine is a mucus-inducing substance and causes nasal stuffiness.

What is Bronchial Asthma

Triggers of Bronchial Asthma

Now that we know what bronchial asthma is, Gokuldas lists the commonly triggered bronchial asthma.

  • Allergens: Inhaled substances that cause an allergic reaction, such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mould, and cockroaches.
  • Irritants: Substances that irritate the airways, such as smoke (including secondhand smoke), air pollution, strong chemicals, and perfumes.
  • Respiratory infections: The common cold, the flu, and other respiratory infections can trigger asthma attacks.
  • Exercise-induced asthma (EIA): Physical activity can trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
  • Certain medications: Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can trigger asthma attacks in some people.
  • Stress: Emotional stress can worsen asthma symptoms.
  • Cold air: Breathing in cold, dry air can trigger asthma symptoms.
  • Reflux (heartburn): Stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms.

Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma

Here are the common symptoms of bronchial asthma:

  • Shortness of breath: This is often described as a feeling of not being able to get enough air into your lungs. It may come and go and can be worse at night or early morning.
  • Wheezing: This is a whistling sound made when you breathe, caused by air rushing through narrowed airways.
  • Chest tightness: This feels like a band is squeezing around your chest, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Coughing: You may have a dry cough that worsens at night or in the early morning, or a cough that produces mucus (phlegm).

These symptoms can vary from person to person and may be mild or severe. They may occur all the time, or only occasionally.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment can help control asthma symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Diagnosing Bronchial Asthma

Medical history and lung function tests are two-way approaches that help to understand the root cause of your condition.

Medical History

The doctor will discuss your symptoms in detail, including:

  • Frequency and severity of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough, particularly at night or early morning
  • Triggers that worsen your symptoms, such as allergens, exercise, cold air, or respiratory infections
  • Family history of asthma or allergies
  • Your response to past medications, if any

Lung Function Tests

These tests help measure airflow in your lungs:

  • Spirometry: You blow into a mouthpiece connected to a machine (spirometer) that measures how much air you can exhale and how quickly you can exhale it.
  • Peak flow meter test: You blow into a small handheld device (peak flow meter) to measure your peak expiratory flow (PEF), which is the maximum speed at which you can breathe out. PEF readings are typically lower during asthma flare-ups. You may be asked to take PEF readings at home over some time to monitor your asthma control.

Other Tests

In some cases, your doctor may recommend other tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Allergy skin testing

Treating Bronchial Asthma

The best treatment for bronchial asthma is understanding what are the symptoms. Maintain a check of the medications and keep an account of asthma breakouts.

Try to be mindful of your triggers. Keep track to avoid or manage the same. When triggers go out of hand, keep medications at hand. Consult with your doctor for medication scheduling. These daily prescriptions are necessary to keep the inflammation and swollen airways under control.

In a nutshell, Gokuldas Hospital is committed to helping patients with bronchial asthma. They understand the increasing prevalence of asthma in India and the various triggers that can cause an attack. By providing comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plans, Gokuldas Hospital empowers patients to manage their asthma and live a better quality of life.

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