Understanding Asthma: Symptoms and Causes

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Are you jailed by your breathing problems? Do you feel like taking in air at times is a struggle and requires a lot of effort? Asthma can be a very troublesome condition that you need to overcome.

Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the airways and lungs, in which there is inflammation and constriction in the airways that bring oxygen and air to the lungs. When asthma occurs, these inflamed airways or bronchial tubes in the lungs become sensitive and overreact to allergens or irritants that are inhaled. When the reaction happens, the airways swell and narrow even more, at the same time produces mucus. All of these developments make the flow of air to the lungs more difficult. Furthermore, there is tightening in the muscles located around the airways, further restricting air flow

Symptoms of Asthma

An asthma attack or flare up is experienced by the asthma patient when certain triggers cause the airways to react. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as symptoms of asthma attack:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • chest tightness
  • trouble breathing

The asthma symptoms some people experience are mild and are triggered only by certain activities like physical exercise. Other people experience more severe and more frequent asthma symptoms.

Causes of Asthma

What really causes asthma is not known. It is believed, however, that it is a result of a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that people afflicted with asthma may have risk factors associated with genetics making them more prone to having the disease and certain factors in the environment such as allergen exposure and even viral infections during one’s infancy may contribute to the risk of experiencing the disease.

Triggers can cause symptoms of asthma to manifest. Common triggers include cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust mites, mold, pollen, respiratory infections, cold air, physical activity and allergy to some foods.

There are several ways of dealing with an asthma attack. While medications can provide temporary relief, you need to make certain changes in your lifestyle and diet in order to permanently overcome such condition.

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