Understanding Bronchial Asthma

BRONCHIAL ASTHMA is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways, whose cause is yet not clearly understood. The disease is known as reactive airway disease.

BRONCHIAL ASTHMA is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways, whose cause is yet not clearly understood. The changes that happen within the airways are -1. Airways are swollen (inflamed). 2. Airways get filled with mucus (mucus plugs). 3. Muscles around the airways squeezes (bronco-constriction). The disease is known as reactive airway disease.

The common causes that seem to act as the trigger may be one or some amongst the items in the list below:-

  1. Hereditary
  2. Weather changes
  3. Pollen grains
  4. Animal danders
  5. House mite dust
  6. Smoke
  7. Food allergies
  8. Indoor fungus (moulds)
  9. Cockroaches
  10. Bad air quality
  11. Upper respiratory tract infection
  12. Psychological stress
  13. Exercise.

   These factors may cause acute exacerbation of chronic bronchial asthma.

       The commonest symptoms include:-

  1. Coughing
  2. Wheezing
  3. Chest tightness
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Expectoration of thick and sticky sputum.

MANAGEMENT of Bronchial Asthma

       Preventive techniques is one of the most important ways of managing Asthma.

  1. Wearing a mask if there is smoke or dust.
  2. Avoid going near flowering pollens.
  3. Avoid hairy pets like cats, dogs or birds in the house.
  4. Preferably bath with warm water round the year.
  5. Avoid allergic food like crabs, prawns, coconut, brinjals etc.
  6. Wear warm protective clothing during cold and windy season.
  7. Self evaluation with spirometry or peak flow meter to anticipate an attack.
  8. Allergy shots with mast cell stabilizer sprays to prevent or lessen the triggers.
  9. Medications for long term control like (a) inhalation steroids –budesonide or Fluticasone furoate (b) leukotriene modifiers-montelukast (c) long acting B2 agonists– salmeterol, formeterol (d) Combined inhalers-Fluticasone furoate + salmeterol.

Things to do if you suddenly get an asthma attack at home:-

Home remedies:-

  • Caffeinated tea or coffee
  • Sitting upright
  • Trying to take slow & deep breaths
  • Inhale moist air
  • Drink warm liquids
  • Take steam inhalation
  • Honey is very good for nocturnal asthma.
  • Lie on your side with a pillow between your legs & head elevated with  pillows.

DO INFORM YOUR DOCTOR OR HOME DOCTOR COMPANY.

MANAGEMENT OF AN ACUTE ATTACK BY THE DOCTOR AND TEAM:-

  1. INVESTIGATIONS- (a) Spirometry or peak flowmetry (b) Measurement of exhaled NITRIC OXIDE (hallmark of eosinophilic asthma). (c) Chest x-ray (d) Allergy testing.
  2. OXYGEN THERAPY (HUMIDIFIED) if SpO2 is less than 94%.
  3. Nebulization with corticosteroids & bronchodilators.
  4. BI-PAP OR C-PAP therapy if it seems to progress towards type II respiratory failure.
  5. Advice hospitalization.

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