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According to the United States Library of Medicine, Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 12 Americans are inflicted with Asthma in their lifetime. Most individuals first experience asthma as a child or teenager. Asthma is chronic and will be something one will live with for the rest of their life even if it does lessen in its severity as one ages. Someone with asthma has red and swollen airways, which makes it difficult to take in a deep breath and can even stop the ability of breathing until they use a bronchodilator. The breathing difficulty associated with asthma can even be fatal without proper treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors of Asthma

Asthma occurs when there is inflammation and swelling in the airways and air doesnt pass easily through these airways. It reduces how much air can pass through, which causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and a number of other side effects. It is unclear why some develop asthma and others never do, though there are triggers to cause asthma attacks for those who have asthma. These triggers include pet dander and hair, dust, weather changes, exercise, pollen, mold, chemicals in the air, respiratory infections, tobacco smoke, stress and other strong emotions including anxiety.

The main risk factor is having severe allergies or a family history of asthma. There are also some complications to be aware of that can cause more severe side effects. Complications of asthma include having symptoms of an attack that effects exercise, sleep, work and recreational activities, calling in sick to school or work often, a permanent restriction of the bronchial tubes, frequent visits to the emergency room and side effects from continued use of medications given for severe asthma.

Symptoms, Signs and Testsof Asthma

The severity of the symptoms of asthma and attacks will vary based on the type of asthma. Some people have asthma more acutely, where they only experience attacks every once in a while. Others have severe asthma with chronic attacks on a regular basis. Some of the common signs and symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath that is worse after physical activity, chest pains, an abnormal breathing pattern, wheezing that is often worse in the morning or at night and short or long spells of not being able to take in a deep breath.

Emergency signs to be aware of are turning blue in the face or lips, severe drowsiness, confusion, extreme difficulty with breathing, rapid pulse, anxiety from the shortness of breath and sweating. Diagnosis of asthma typically starts with an allergy test to determine if allergies are triggering the asthma and attacks. Additional tests include arterial blood gas test, blood tests, lung function test, chest x-ray and peak flow measurements.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Asthma

There is no cure for asthma as it is considered a chronic disease you will have to experience for the rest of your life. While there isnt a cure or any way to get rid of the disease, you can still treat it. Visit a medical professional for the proper care for treating your Asthma. The main reason for seeking treatment is to avoid triggers and control swelling of your airways in order to avoid severe asthma attacks. Some treatment methods include: medications that will help prevent asthma attacks and quick-relief drugs during attacks, such as an inhaler. Medications used for treatment include steroids you inhale to prevent airway swelling, beta-agonist inhalers to prevent the symptoms of asthma, leukotriene inhibitors, omalizumab and cromolyn sodium.

Quick-relief drugs for asthma attacks include inhalers, also known as bronchodilators, like Proventil and Xopenex, and oral steroids which come in pill, capsule or liquid form. These are mostly for acute asthma treatment to relieve the inflammation causing the asthma attack. There are also asthma home remedies to help prevent symptoms or monitor how severe your symptoms are, such as avoiding triggers like pet dander, mold and mildew, dust and pollen and using a peak flow meter, which measures the air moving out of your lungs.