Asthma- cause, Risk factors and symptoms

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease which involves the airways in the lungs. The airways generally allow the air to come in and out of the lungs.In the condition of Asthma, airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This makes breathing very difficult triggers the cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. For some people, it is a minor nuisance but for many people, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

People having family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. This is what we call allergic asthma. Asthma and allergies are closely linked. However not everyone with asthma has allergies.

Remember asthma can’t be cured, however its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s very important that you must work with your doctor to manage your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed. You can feel the improvement only when it is properly diagnosed and then a treatment plan is started.

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. However some of the common symptoms of asthma are:

  1. Chest tightness or pain
  2. Wheezing – while breathing you may hear a continuous, high-pitched sound 
  3. Shortness of breath – Here the patient is not able to get enough air
  4. Coughing
  5. Problem in sleeping – caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing

You do not need to have all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with asthma. Asthma-symptoms may be worse during exercise , during a very hard physical work, when you have a cold or during times of high stress.

What causes asthma ?

Asthma is caused by a combination of complex environmental and genetic interactions.

Many environmental factors have been associated with asthma’s development which include including allergens like – pollen grains, dust mites, cockroaches, air pollution like -sulphur dioxde, nitrogen oxide , smoking ,cold temperatures, and high humidity have all been shown to trigger asthma in some individuals.

Genetic

Family history is also a risk factor for asthma, with many different genes being involved.

Few genetic variants can only cause asthma when they are in combination with specific environmental exposures.

Risk factors

There are a number of factors are thought to increase the chances of developing asthma in some people. These include:

  1. Being overweight
  2. Being a smoker
  3. Exposure to exhaust fumes 
  4. Exposure to some triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, manufacturing and hairdressing.

You must consult your doctor if you have frequent coughing or wheezing that lasts more than a few days or any other signs or symptoms of asthma, see your doctor. Treating asthma early may prevent long-term lung damage.