Asthma, which is pronounced AZ-muh, is a lung disease that has the following characteristics:
- Airway construction that can be of varying intensity, yet is reversible.
- Inflammation of the airways, and
- Bronchial hyperresponsiveness
Asthma is one of the leading chronic illnesses in children, and it manifests itself as a difficulty in breathing due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes which are particularly sensitive to allergens and irritants like pollen and pollution.
Asthma is one of those diseases that can not be cured so patients have to control it by using inhalers containing medicines that can relax and open the airways and allow the patient to breathe.
Symptoms of asthma:
- people with asthma often cough especially at night or early morning making it more difficult to sleep.
- There is often a whistling or squeaking sound when you breathe.
- The asthma can give your chest tight feeling as if someone is squeezing your chest making it more difficult to breathe.
- Asthmatics will often have shortness of breath, because quite literally they are not getting as much oxygen into their bodies as they need.
- Fast or noisy breathing.
Not all people will have all of the symptoms and some symptoms may be worse than others. In some cases if the symptoms become severe the result can be a full-blown asthma attack.
An asthma attack can be a frightening episode as well as potentially life-threatening. When this happens the bronchial tubes contract making it harder to breathe air into the lungs. To make matters worse the cells in the airway make more mucus than usual which narrows the tubes even more. In some cases the asthma attack can prevent enough oxygen from getting to vital organs leading to a medical emergency that can result in death if not caught and treated.
To imagine what it's like to suffer an asthma attack, think about the sensation you would feel if you were drowning. You can not get enough air and you can feel the oxygen levels in your body decreasing to the point where you feel that you will pass out.
Asthma is increasing in the developed world because of the modern environment where air pollution from traffic and factories is on the increase. Even our homes can make asthma worse as a centrally heated home is nice and warm and the ideal breeding ground to dust mites. The dust mites will live in the carpets, and even your bed. It is there since vitally important to keep your home is clean, and if possible use a vacuum cleaner that contains a HEPA filter. These filters will remove over 99% of airborne allergens, dust mite debris and pollen from the air passing through the filter. That means that the air coming out of the exhaust of the vacuum is much cleaner than the air being sucked through through the vacuum head. Many people report vast improvements to their asthma and allergies after using HEPA vacuum cleaner in their home.
Asthma is a scary disease especially for the parents of children who suffer from asthma, because they are always worried when their children are at school or playing with friends that an asthma attack could happen. Some children may grow out of their asthma only to find it return later in life, while some people that have never had asthma develop it later in life. Knowing how to manage your asthma is the key to living with asthma.