Age is not a factor as far as asthma is concerned though it's notable that around 50 percent of the cases initiate in children below the age of 10. And among these children around 65 percent are boys compared to only 35 percent girls. It is one of the chief culprits as far as respiratory illness among teenagers and children are concerned. Though its observed that the condition may improve with age. 17 million American citizens are asthma patients according to estimation.
Asthma is a lung disease which can be reversed either with treatment or it may heal spontaneously. Obstruction or constriction of the airway is the characteristics of Asthma. Lack of breathe called dyspnea and mild wheezing constitute the moderate symptoms of asthma while fatal respiratory failures are the grave symptom. The mild symptoms may occur before a serious attack.
People suffering from asthma face difficulty breathing out but can breathe in without any problem. During inhalation the diaphragm lowers pushing the ribs out and thus enlarging the lungs to let air around any blockage. But during exhalation when the rib cage closes in, the diaphragm moves up obstructing the air from moving around the blockage.
Two types of asthma
Intrinsic asthma and extrinsic asthma are the two types of asthma. When allergy to some kind of external material causes asthma its called extrinsic. And when an obvious external agent is not identifiable it is called intrinsic asthma.
Substances like dust, pollens, dander, food, molds, feather pillows, some types of food additives etc may cause spontaneous allergic reaction in some children which may be a beginning of extrinsic asthma. It is a hereditary disorder called atopy where the body has an inclination for allergic reactions.
An intrinsic asthma usually follows a serious respiratory infection to which no external allergen can be associated. An intrinsic asthma condition may worsen due to emotional stress, changes in temperature or humidity, fatigue, irritants, exposure to fumes and gases etc. some people may be patients of intrinsic as well as extrinsic asthma.
All asthma attacks are not of the same degree. The oxygen supply to the critical organs may get severely affected due to closing of the airways in a serious asthma attack. This may lead to a medical emergency condition. Severe asthma attacks are known to be the reason for many deaths. An asthma attack gives a person a sensation similar to drowning.
Actions like medication or other remedies can be used to prevent an asthma attack if the asthma symptoms and its warning signs are learnt.
There may be long phases of time when an asthma patient either shows very few and feeble symptoms of asthma or doesn't show any at all. But asthma attacks can also be seen to last for prolonged periods.
The cough may sound dry and stretched during a severe attack. A a thick mucus is expectorated as the attack abates. Small children don't produce the mucus after an attack. The breathing is normal between severe attacks.
In symptomatic asthma it is typical for the breathing sound to get reduced. Also forced exhalation for long periods is typical of air passage blockage. Lung hyperinflation is usually very common in children. Tachypnea, tachycardia and diaphoresis may coincide with severe attack. The patient may not be able to speak without pausing to catch a breath after every few words. Initial signs of respiratory failure are lethargy, confusion and darkening (purple or blue) of the skin due to lack of oxygen called as Cyanosis.
Possible asthma remedies
Various drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin may initiate an asthma attack. Even chemicals like Tartazine (yellow food dye) can cause an asthma attack. Heavy work and exercise may cause huge loss of moisture and heat in the upper airways. This may be followed by bronchospasm leading to exercise induced attack. Even exercise can be an attack initiator.
When treating severe asthma patients the target is to address the symptoms like coughing, wheezing, inflammation, airway swelling, lack of breath and lower them while an attempt is made to increase the pulmonary ventilation. Following a severe attack the treatment usually is focused on addressing the initiating factors like the irritants or the allergens in the environment.
In a process similar to vaccination, asthma may be treated by injecting the patient with limited amount of the antigen causing the attack when the cause of the asthma is identified as a particular toxin, bacterium, virus or other substance foreign to the body. This way the response of the immune system to the antigen is brought under control.