Combitide Starhaler
Combitide Starhaler
Sun Pharma
Sun Pharma

Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. The airways of people who have asthma are extra sensitive to the things they're allergic to (called allergens) and to other irritating things in the air (called irritants). This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

There is no cure for asthma, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it's important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

Although exact cause of asthma is not clear, it's probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors. Triggers of asthma are substances to which exposure can trigger allergies (allergens). The list also includes irritants that can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Allergens in air, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Allergic reactions to some foods, such as peanuts or shellfish
  • Infections of respiratory tract, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Drugs, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
  • Menstrual cycle in some women

Many factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:

  • Family history of having asthma
  • Presence of another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Excess weight
  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Having a mother who smoked while pregnant
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
  • Low birth weight

Other risk factors include exposure to allergens, certain germs or parasites, and having some types of bacterial or viral infections. However, more research is needed to determine what role they may play in developing asthma.

Symptoms of asthma range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times such as when exercising or have symptoms all the time.

Signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Breath shortness
  • Tightness in chest or chest pain
  • Sleeping trouble caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Indications that your asthma is probably worsening include:

  • Signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
  • Progressive difficulty in breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

Asthma symptoms flare up in some people in certain situations:

  • Asthma induced with exercise, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Asthma induced by allergies, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches or pollen

Complications of asthma include:

  • Interference with sleep, work or recreational activities
  • Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
  • Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling) that affects how well you can breathe
  • Visit to emergency room and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
  • Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma

Effective management of asthma makes a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma.

Physical examinations

It is done to rule out other possible conditions such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your signs and symptoms and about any other health problems.

Tests to measure lung function

It may be necessary to perform lung (pulmonary) function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests may include:

  • Spirometry is done to estimate the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.
  • Peak flow is determined with a meter which is a simple device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow readings are a sign your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings.

Lung function tests often are done before and after taking a bronchodilator, such as albuterol, to open your airways. If your lung function improves with use of a bronchodilator, it's likely you have asthma.

Additional tests

Diagnosis of asthma may require other tests that include:

  • Methacholine challenge.
  • Nitric oxide test.
  • Imaging tests. A chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scan of your lungs and nose cavities (sinuses) can identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
  • Sputum eosinophils. Increased eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).
  • Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma.

Long term control and prevention are key in stopping asthma attacks before they start. Treatment usually involves learning to recognize your triggers and taking steps to avoid them, and tracking your breathing to make sure your daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control. In case of an asthma flare-up, you may need to use a quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol.

  • Inhaled corticosteroids. These medications, that include fluticasone, budesonide, mometasone, ciclesonide, flunisolide, beclomethasone, may be required for several days to weeks before they reach their maximum benefit. Unlike oral corticosteroids, these corticosteroid medications have a relatively low risk of side effects and are generally safe for long-term use.
  • Leukotriene modifiers. Include montelukast,zafirlukast and zileuton, which help relieve asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. In rare cases, these medications have been linked to psychological reactions, such as agitation, aggression, hallucinations, depression and suicidal thinking. Seek medical advice right away for any unusual reaction.
  • Long-acting beta agonists. These drugs are given through inhaler and include salmeterol and formoterol. These drugs open the airways.
  • Combination inhalers. These medications such as fluticasone-salmeterol, budesonide-formoterol and mometasone-formoterol contain a long-acting beta agonist along with a corticosteroid.
  • Theophylline. This drug is a daily pill that helps keep the airways open by relaxing the muscles around the airways. It's not used as often now as in past years.

Quick-relief (rescue) medications used for rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack include:

  • Short-acting beta agonists. Given through inhaler these drugs act within minutes to rapidly ease symptoms during an asthma attack. They include albuterol, levalbuterol and pirbuterol. Short-acting beta agonists can be taken using a portable, hand-held inhaler or a nebulizer a machine that converts asthma medications to a fine mist, so they can be inhaled through a face mask or a mouthpiece.
  • Ipratropium. Ipratropium, like other bronchodilators, acts quickly to immediately relax your airways, making it easier to breathe. Ipratropium is mostly used for emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but it's sometimes used to treat asthma attacks.
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids. Prednisone and methylprednisolone relieve airway inflammation caused by severe asthma. They can cause serious side effects when used long term, so they're used only on a short-term basis to treat severe asthma symptoms.

Anti allergy medications that may help include:

  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy).
  • Omalizumab.
  • Allergy medications
  • Follow your asthma action plan.
  • Get immunizations for influenza and pneumonia.
  • Identify and avoid asthma triggers.
  • Monitor your breathing.
  • Identify and treat attacks early.
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Pay attention to increasing quick-relief inhaler use.

Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. The airways of people who have asthma are extra sensitive to the things they're allergic to (called allergens) and to other irritating things in the air (called irritants). This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

There is no cure for asthma, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it's important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

Although exact cause of asthma is not clear, it's probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors. Triggers of asthma are substances to which exposure can trigger allergies (allergens). The list also includes irritants that can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Allergens in air, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Allergic reactions to some foods, such as peanuts or shellfish
  • Infections of respiratory tract, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Drugs, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
  • Menstrual cycle in some women

Many factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:

  • Family history of having asthma
  • Presence of another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Excess weight
  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Having a mother who smoked while pregnant
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
  • Low birth weight

Other risk factors include exposure to allergens, certain germs or parasites, and having some types of bacterial or viral infections. However, more research is needed to determine what role they may play in developing asthma.

Symptoms of asthma range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times such as when exercising or have symptoms all the time.

Signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Breath shortness
  • Tightness in chest or chest pain
  • Sleeping trouble caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Indications that your asthma is probably worsening include:

  • Signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
  • Progressive difficulty in breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

Asthma symptoms flare up in some people in certain situations:

  • Asthma induced with exercise, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Asthma induced by allergies, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches or pollen

Complications of asthma include:

  • Interference with sleep, work or recreational activities
  • Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
  • Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling) that affects how well you can breathe
  • Visit to emergency room and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
  • Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma

Effective management of asthma makes a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma.

Physical examination

It is done to rule out other possible conditions such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your signs and symptoms and about any other health problems.

Tests to measure lung function

It may be necessary to perform lung (pulmonary) function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests may include:

  • Spirometry is done to estimate the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.
  • Peak flow is determined with a meter which is a simple device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow readings are a sign your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings.

Lung function tests often are done before and after taking a bronchodilator, such as albuterol, to open your airways. If your lung function improves with use of a bronchodilator, it's likely you have asthma.

Additional tests

Diagnosis of asthma may require other tests that include:

  • Methacholine challenge.
  • Nitric oxide test.
  • Imaging tests. A chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scan of your lungs and nose cavities (sinuses) can identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
  • Sputum eosinophils. Increased eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).
  • Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma.

Long term control and prevention are key in stopping asthma attacks before they start. Treatment usually involves learning to recognize your triggers and taking steps to avoid them, and tracking your breathing to make sure your daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control. In case of an asthma flare-up, you may need to use a quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol.

  • Inhaled corticosteroids. These medications, that include fluticasone, budesonide, mometasone, ciclesonide, flunisolide, beclomethasone, may be required for several days to weeks before they reach their maximum benefit. Unlike oral corticosteroids, these corticosteroid medications have a relatively low risk of side effects and are generally safe for long-term use.
  • Leukotriene modifiers. Include montelukast,zafirlukast and zileuton, which help relieve asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. In rare cases, these medications have been linked to psychological reactions, such as agitation, aggression, hallucinations, depression and suicidal thinking. Seek medical advice right away for any unusual reaction.
  • Long-acting beta agonists. These drugs are given through inhaler and include salmeterol and formoterol. These drugs open the airways.
  • Combination inhalers. These medications such as fluticasone-salmeterol, budesonide-formoterol and mometasone-formoterol contain a long-acting beta agonist along with a corticosteroid.
  • Theophylline. This drug is a daily pill that helps keep the airways open by relaxing the muscles around the airways. It's not used as often now as in past years.

Quick-relief (rescue) medications used for rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack include:

  • Short-acting beta agonists. Given through inhaler these drugs act within minutes to rapidly ease symptoms during an asthma attack. They include albuterol, levalbuterol and pirbuterol. Short-acting beta agonists can be taken using a portable, hand-held inhaler or a nebulizer a machine that converts asthma medications to a fine mist, so they can be inhaled through a face mask or a mouthpiece.
  • Ipratropium. Ipratropium, like other bronchodilators, acts quickly to immediately relax your airways, making it easier to breathe. Ipratropium is mostly used for emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but it's sometimes used to treat asthma attacks.
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids. Prednisone and methylprednisolone relieve airway inflammation caused by severe asthma. They can cause serious side effects when used long term, so they're used only on a short-term basis to treat severe asthma symptoms.

Anti allergy medications that may help include:

  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy).
  • Omalizumab.
  • Allergy medications
  • Follow your asthma action plan.
  • Get immunizations for influenza and pneumonia.
  • Identify and avoid asthma triggers.
  • Monitor your breathing.
  • Identify and treat attacks early.
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Pay attention to increasing quick-relief inhaler use.
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