The term “asthma” originated from a Greek word, which means “panting”. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lungs and the airways. People affected by this condition may feel it difficult to breathe correctly. Doctors and researchers are still not sure about the causes of asthma. Some believe that the condition can be a result of genetic factors, whereas some other think it is the environmental factors that trigger asthma. Asthma can even be inherited.
- Allergens or the allergic response
The allergens have a vital role in childhood asthma. Asthma and allergies often occur together. Some studies also point that, children as well as adults who have allergies are at increased risk for developing asthma. Exposure to allergens may cause the immune system to overreact. Inhaling certain allergens/substances such as dust mites, animal dander, molds, cockroaches, pollen from the plants, etc., may trigger allergic asthma in children.
- Environmental Factors or irritants
Direct irritants to the lungs may induce asthma in children and adults. It may even aggravate the existing condition. If the child is allergic to more indoor allergens, she/he can be at an increased risk for severe asthma. Some of the important irritants include- indoor chemicals, air pollution, smoking, food allergies, etc.
Early childhood intestinal infections have a complex role in early childhood respiratory infections. If the child is suffering from asthma, intestinal infections may even worsen the condition. It is not necessary that, intestinal infections cause asthma. Indeed, intestinal infections and early respiratory infections may prevent asthma. Studies say that, most of the respiratory infections do not cause asthma in children. There are certain common infection viruses which may cause colds that can be linked with the development of asthma in some children. The respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus are associated with the development of asthma.
Some of the common symptoms of asthma may include:
- Chest tightness and
- Shortness of breath etc.,
Breathing tests, medical history analysis, physical examinations, etc., are done to diagnose asthma in children and adults. It is miserable that asthma cannot be completely cured. The only thing that can be done is to control the symptoms with proper asthma treatment and management. Medications to control the symptoms may include- inhaled corticosteroids, beclomethasone, ciclesonide, mometasone, budesoide etc., LABAs (Long-Acting Beta-Agonist) are symptom controllers which help on opening the airways. Leukotriene modifiers are the other oral medications prescribed in certain cases. Apart from medications, these are the necessary factors that are essential for managing asthma:
- Proper assessment and monitoring: The doctor will use multiple measures to diagnose the current condition of the patient and future risks. Proper monitoring and checkup are very essential to avoid dangerous situations.
- Patient education: The patient should be made capable of self-monitoring and managing asthma. If the child is not able to manage the condition, the parents should get proper training from the doctor.
- Controlling environmental factors and other asthma triggers: The parents should try to reduce exposure to allergens in the home. Asthma can also be controlled by treating the co-existing chronic conditions.
Asthma can be managed in different ways. The right method can be suggested by the doctor according to the condition of the child.