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:-
- Weather changes
- Pollen grains
- Animal danders
- House mite dust
- Food allergies
- Indoor fungus (moulds)
- Bad air quality
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Psychological stress
These factors may cause acute exacerbation of chronic bronchial asthma.
The commonest symptoms include:-
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Expectoration of thick and sticky sputum.
MANAGEMENT of Bronchial Asthma
Preventive techniques is one of the most important ways of managing Asthma.
- Wearing a mask if there is smoke or dust.
- Avoid going near flowering pollens.
- Avoid hairy pets like cats, dogs or birds in the house.
- Preferably bath with warm water round the year.
- Avoid allergic food like crabs, prawns, coconut, brinjals etc.
- Wear warm protective clothing during cold and windy season.
- Self evaluation with spirometry or peak flow meter to anticipate an attack.
- Allergy shots with mast cell stabilizer sprays to prevent or lessen the triggers.
- 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:-
- 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:-
- INVESTIGATIONS- (a) Spirometry or peak flowmetry (b) Measurement of exhaled NITRIC OXIDE (hallmark of eosinophilic asthma). (c) Chest x-ray (d) Allergy testing.
- OXYGEN THERAPY (HUMIDIFIED) if SpO2 is less than 94%.
- Nebulization with corticosteroids & bronchodilators.
- BI-PAP OR C-PAP therapy if it seems to progress towards type II respiratory failure.
- Advice hospitalization.