Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways and causes painful reactions. It is characterized by unpredictable and persistent symptoms, obstruction of the airflow which eases with time, and brochospasm. Brochospasm is caused by degranulation of substances from mast cells (cells which contain various tissues, histamine and heparin particles which are responsible for allergic reactions). Asthma and its allergic reactions are stirred by both environmental and genetic factors. Interaction of these factors is complex since they influence severity of the attack and response to medication.
Research has shown relatedness between various risk factors and asthma development, allergic reactions and death in children. There are asthmatic problems caused by women smoking in the course of their pregnancies or immediately after delivery with the conditions being characterised by symptoms like wheezing and respiratory tract infections for in the baby. Air pollution from exhaust fumes causes asthma development and high rates of death in asthma patients.
In one of the hypotheses in medicine called hygiene, it is postulated that exposure to medication early in a life of a child affects the normal development of the child thereby increasing the risks of developing asthma. These children are prone to asthma attacks due to modification of the gut flora. In most cases it is due to destruction of beneficial bacteria in the system and this exposes one to the risk of allergic reactions.
Phthalates are plasticizers common in building materials whose hydrolysis is kind of similar to prostaglandins in the airway. Exposure to phthalates triggers asthmatic allergic reactions. Exposure to PVC (polyvinyl chloride) fumes can also lead to development of asthma in adults. According to studies, inception of asthma was related to floor-levelling plaster at home. There is a close correlation between asthma and plastering and wall carpeting materials.
Various genes lead to inflammation of the airways. However, studies show that genes react differently under different conditions. Interaction of infections and environmental factors triggering attacks vary from one person to another. They include viral respiratory diseases like Chlamydia pneumonia and whooping cough. Gene-environmental interactions influence attacks in individuals. For instance, CD14 (single nucleotide polymorphism) exposure to endotoxin bacteria causes attack in some individuals and not in others. The risk varies depending on one’s genotype and level of exposure. Exacerbation is the aggression of asthma related symptoms. Asthmatic patients develop asthmatic symptoms under a number of triggering agents. Some asthma triggering factors include dust, bites from insects, animal hair, cockroach and mould allergens and perfumes.
Signals and Symptoms
Some common signals of asthma include wheezing, a coarse whistling noise from the respiratory airways during respiration. Wheezing is caused by obstruction of smooth flow of air in the respiratory tract due to constriction of the bronchioles. Wheezing is mostly heard during exhalation. Difficulty in breathing is breathlessness which might either be chronic or acute. America thoracic society defines it as a biased experience of breathing distress that consists of sensations of pain that vary in strength.
Chest tightness is the discomfort between the neck and upper abdomen. It can be due to pain in the chest, lungs, muscle ribs and tendons. It occurs when bronchi are constricted due to inflammation and or are filled with mucous. Coughing related to asthma occurs at night or very early in the morning.
Asthma is a chronic condition and a plan for monitoring and dealing with symptoms should be devised. Asthma patients should avoid exposure to allergens, be able to access attacking symptoms and learn to use medications. Medication depends on the severity and frequency of the attack. Quick relievers are used on occasional, mild attacks and long-term medication is used to prevent worsening of symptoms.