Understanding and preventing asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs, an irritant usually triggers an asthma attack and irritants can vary from person to person. During an attack the muscles around the airways become increasingly narrower and the lining swells, sticky mucus can also build up in the airways which cause further narrowing and the problems associated with asthma, namely a difficulty in breathing.
There are a variety of reasons why people develop asthma, but there are certain factors that can cause it such as :
 If you have a family history of asthma or allergies
 Environmental factors such as changes in hot and cold
 Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of your child developing asthma
 If you smoke then you are more likely to develop asthma
 Environmental pollution
 Allergies to pets
 The onset of asthma can develop after a viral infection
 Irritants found within the workplace
The most common signs and symptoms of asthma vary from person to person in severity with some people experiencing some of the symptoms all the time to some extent, while others only from time to time, they include:
 Coughing uncontrollably
 Developing a wheeze due to the restriction of the airways
 A shortness of breath
 A tight feeling around the chest
Asthma cannot be cured but it can be treated and kept under control very successfully, there are many types of medication that can help you to successfully keep your asthma under control. Medications are divided into different categories which depending on the severity of your asthma you might have to use a combination of them. Categories include
 Inhalers that prevent asthma
 Inhalers that relieve asthma
 Steroid tablets
 Spacers
 Nebulisers
 Complementary therapies
A preventer will do exactly as the name suggests help to prevent attacks of asthma, it is important to use them everyday as prescribed, even if you are feeling well. They don’t help to relieve the feelings of an asthma attack such as breathlessness or tightness of the chest and most usually contain a very low dose of steroid.
Everyone who has asthma will have been prescribed a reliever; the reliever is designed to quickly ease the symptoms of asthma during an attack. The medication in the reliever will help to open the airways again making breathing much easier, it is important that if you have been prescribed an inhaler then you always make sure you have it near you.
If you have an infection and suffer from asthma then your Doctor may give you a short course of steroid treatment along with a course of antibiotics while you overcome the infection. A very few of those suffering from asthma do occasionally need to take steroids long term.
Spacers and Nebulisers are two ways that help you take your reliever medication more easily; spacers are usually given to children with asthma while Nebulisers allows you to continually inhale medication through a mask and is helpful during a particularly bad attack of asthma.

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