Global asthma rates are on the rise with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease. Estimates suggest that 300 million people worldwide suffer from Asthma. What’s even worse is that almost 10 percent of this number comes from Pakistan. As per the Asthma Society of Pakistan, at present 28% of Pakistani population suffers from allergy and 9% of them are suffering from asthma.
What is Asthma
Asthma is a lung disorder that obstructs breathing. It is a condition wherein a person experiences chronic inflammation leading to narrowing of the airway that causes recurrent asthma attacks. In such circumstances air flow to lungs is obstructed. Some of the common symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and tightness in the chest. It is also known as bronchial asthma or reactive airway disease. The exact cause of asthma is still undiscovered however in most cases it is linked to hereditary as well as environmental factors.According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every twelve Americans suffers from Asthma. The global instances of asthma are also on a steady rise. The CDC also found the obesity rate among adults with asthma to be at almost 39% while the obesity rate among adults without asthma at almost 27%.Before we could talk about the various ways in which one can tackle asthma, let’s take a look at a few important facts associated with the condition.
Asthma results out of inflammation (swelling in airways. When the attack happens, the lining of the air passage swells and the muscles surrounding the airways become tight. This lessens the amount of air that passes through the airway.
- Allergens like house dust mites, animal dander, pollen and cockroach droppings.
- Irritants like of tobacco smoke, pollution, strong odours or fumes.
- Emotional anxiety and stress may also increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack.
- Viral and bacterial infections such as the common cold and sinusitis.
- Exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes.
- Acid reflux, with or without heartburn.
Symptoms include a cough (with or without phlegm), pulling in of the skin between the ribs when breathing, shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise or activity, wheezing, and emergency symptoms that need prompt medical help
- Bluish color to the lips and face
- Decreased level of alertness, such as severe drowsiness or confusion, during an asthma attack
- Extreme difficulty breathing
- Rapid pulse
- Severe anxiety due to shortness of breath.
- Abnormal breathing pattern –breathing out takes more than twice as long as breathing in
- Breathing temporarily stops
- Chest pain
- Tightness in the chest
Here are some few tips for Precautions:
Avoiding triggers and allergens – common allergens that cause allergic asthma are smoke, dust mites, pollens, molds, pet dander, rodents.
Wear a face mask if your asthma is worsened by cold or dry air.
Try to discover which forms of exercise are best for people with asthma. Regular exercise can strengthen your lungs and heart, which helps relieve asthma symptoms.
Maintain a healthy weight as being overweight can increase your risk of symptoms as well as other health problems.
- Learn how to manage stress to reduce your asthma symptoms.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh and unprocessed foods.
- Since some people with asthma have food allergies that can trigger asthma attacks, it is best to consult with your doctor or dietician.
- Get regular checkups for your asthma.