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What Is Asthma? And It's Related Conditions

What Is Asthma ?

Asthma (Greek-panting) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways causing reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Asthma may present as any of the following-

---recurrent attacks of wheezing
---tightness of chest
---shortness of breath
---recurrent attacks of coughing

Asthma is more prevalent in children. Asthma can be caused by genetic & environmental factors. The strongest risk for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease.( A trinity of asthma, atopic eczema & allergic rhinitis). Asthma can be allergic or non-allergic. Allergic asthma is the more common type of asthma, 60-70 % of asthmatics have allergic asthma.
About 30% of asthmatics suffer from non-allergic asthma. The diagnosis of asthma is based mostly on symptoms of the patient (past & present), spirometry & response of the patient to medication. Asthma symptoms are worse at night, early morning, from cold air, food & on exertion. Asthma symptoms can be intermittent or continuous.

Common asthma triggers are :

INDOORS dust mites, cockroaches, fungus, animal dander, molds, perfumes etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS include allergens, air pollution, chemical fumes, smoke etc.

In allergic asthma if a person inhales any of the above allergens a complex reaction due to development of IgE starts & leads to asthma symptoms. Allergic asthma occurs due to hyper immune response that occurs because a person’s body makes too much of an immune system globulin called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
In non-allergic asthma the attacks can be triggered by exercise, cold air, stress, pollution etc. or other factors acting directly upon the lungs. Most people with allergic asthma can also have non-allergic attacks due to exposure.
Airway obstruction in asthma occurs due to constriction of the bronchial smooth muscles. Irritants & allergens cause hyperactivity of airways. Inflammation in airways & lungs occurs after increase in eosinophils( one type of WBC) & CD4+ lymphocytes.
About 10 -20% Asthmatic children grow out of their allergies on reaching puberty but most other children remain Asthmatic all their life with ever worsening situations. Adults rarely get out of their allergies. In many children suffering from asthma who seem to have grown out of their problem, the disease hides as a skin eruption/ recurrent headache/ urticaria etc as seen in our clinical study so far. There are various other clinical conditions which may be clinically diagnosed as an entirely different disease or condition but is often found associated in asthmatic patients.


Asthma and other related conditions

Allergic Rhinitis & post

nasal drip (hay fever) Nasal congestion, open but running nose, sneezing, itching of eyes & nose, excess watering from eyes, loss of smell & taste etc.

Sinusitis or Rhino sinusitis

Almost 30% of asthmatics have co-existing sinusitis. Sinusitis may also exist in a person with severe cold allergy, headache, tenderness of face, loss of taste & smell, vertigo etc.

Gastroesophagial reflux disease

A condition in which acid contents of the stomach go back into the oesophagus & may cause symptoms similar to asthma & cough.

C.O.P.D( chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Emphysema & chronic bronchitis generally affect older people with history of smoking.

Respiratory syncytial virus-(R.S.V)

This is the most common virus infection affecting children during their childhood. Above 50% chest infections in childhood can be attributed to this virus.

H.A.D (hyperactive airway disease)

Hyper response of the airway tract in children to external stimuli causing constriction of the airway tract. Childhood asthma is often called H.A.D. Even despite better medical facilities nowadays H.A.D is on the rise due to increasing pollution & modern living & eating habits.

Dr.Saggu's Asthma Research Clinic , treatment for your Asthma.

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