Asthma (Breathing Problems) is a chronic condition in which the airways narrow and swell and produces extra mucus
Characterized by episodic reversible airway obstruction, increased bronchial reactivity, and airway inflammation
Condition results from a complex interaction amongst inflammatory cells, airway epithelium, smooth muscles and nervous system
It is not fixed at which age it starts, the symptoms can be seen at any stage of life, but mostly starts in childhood
In many cases, adult onset asthma is triggered by allergies, which is difficult to find the actual cause of disease
Around 15 - 20 million people have asthma in India and prevalence is high at 10 - 15% in 5 to 11 year old children
It is said that everything under the sun, including the sun itself can result in an allergy and trigger an asthma attack. However, some of the common and known triggers of asthma include the following:
An attack of asthma includes some of the following symptoms, in varying intensity:
Lung function tests
The most common problem for an asthma patient is chronic airway inflammation and excessive airway sensitivity to various triggers that makes breathing difficult. When the airways come into contact with a trigger, the airways become inflamed (they are filled with mucus, and swell and narrow).
This results in difficulty in breathing, shortness of bread, increased airway secretion and a combination of various other allergic symptoms. Other asthma symptoms include coughing (especially at night), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain.
Triggers are different for different individuals. The most common triggers are breathing polluted air, inhaling irritants such as perfume and cleaning products, allergies such as molds, dust, etc.
Exercise-induced asthma is a category of asthma that happens that occurs because of exercise. The muscle bands around your airways are sensitive to changes during exercise and react by contracting, which narrows the airway. This results in difficulty in breathing.
To diagnose, doctor may suggest lung function test (also known as pulmonary function test i.e., PFT) and can give some exercise challenges to measure your breathing before, during and after exercise.
Exercise has many benefits when it comes to managing asthma. An exercise program helps to maintain a healthy weight, which reduces the severity of asthma symptoms. Before starting exercise program, asthma patient should consult a doctor to understand safety of the exercises for his/her case and also get suggestions on some safe exercise activities as per his/her health condition.
To diagnose menopause or perimenopause, doctor may suggest blood test to check follicle stimulating test (FSH) level, as menopause causes FSH levels to rise. Under certain circumstances, doctor may also suggest for thyroid function test to determine the thyroid-stimulating hormone level, as it causes similar symptoms to those seen in menopause.