Asthma is one of the most common diseases known to us today. There is dedicated research going on to come up with more effective asthma treatments so as to get this condition that could be even deadly in many cases to be controlled to the maximum possibility. According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology approximately 20 million Americans have asthma and over 12.8 million school days are missed by children because of ashtma (more asthma statistics & facts) and that's just the tip of the ice berg. World-wide asthma affects over 130 million people; number of people affected is 8-10 times higher in industrialized countries than in developing ones. Children age 10 and younger account for 50% of asthma cases. In most children, ashma develops before they are age 5, and in more than half asthma develops before they are age 3.
What is Asthma?
The condition commonly called as Asthma is also known as ‘Bronchial Asthma’. Astma is a word derived from Greek, which means ‘hard breathing’ or ‘panting’. Asthma is a condition that causes difficulty in letting the air move freely from and to the lungs when we breathe. They are different types of asthma (intrinsic asthma, extrinsic asthma and mixed asthma) in technically terms but in all types asthma condition where the airways (small tubes) in the lungs are affected which does not allow the air to be carried in and out of the lungs causing difficulty in breathing.
In asthmatic patients, the bronchi get narrowed due to an inflammation of the lining of the airways in the lungs. This causes the reduction in the size of the airways that makes the airways irritable and causes cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. The narrowing of the airways can be caused by the following three reasons:
- Tightening of muscles around the airways shuts off some of the airways. This is called spasm.
- The lining of the airways gets swollen. This is a very common condition seen in many asthmatic patients. Here the blood vessels swells up and becomes leaky where in such a condition the fluid starts to seep from the blood vessels to the lung tissues which causes the swelling
- The two types of white blood cells move into the cell lining of the airways that causes the mucus to become stickier. The mucus being excessively sticky causes the airways to be clogged even more and makes it narrow.The muscle contraction along with the mucus and the inflammation may make it really hard to breathe.
Asthma is not caused by any kind of virus nor is infectious in nature but may tend to run in the family. The airways in an asthmatic patient may react severely when he has viral infections, cold or when he comes in contact with the allergens that triggers asthma. These triggers could be pollen grains, chemical fumes, etc.
Through Asthma Information Guide we want to give you as much information as possible about asthma and how it can affect you. Knowledge of Ashtma is important for prevention and care. Remember, asthma can kill and if you are not careful it might as well. Read on to know more about asthma, treatments and how asthma affects your daily life.