what is asthma?
The word asthma is of Greek derivation and it means ‘panting’ or ‘gasping’. Asthma is a disorder characterized by difficulty in breathing and obstruction to airflow through the airways of the lungs. This airflow obstruction oscillates markedly, both spontaneously and with treatment.
Amazing guidelines explain what is asthma
Inflammation in the airways (bronchi and bronchioles) makes them susceptible (hyper-responsive) to a wide range of triggers which narrow their lumen and increase the resistance to the flow of air. Reduced airflow decreases the supply of oxygen. In an effort to overcome this deficit, the patient starts panting. However, since there is a generalized narrowing of airways, the increased effort and rapid breathing fail to meet the oxygen requirement. The patient starts feeling the discomfort of breathlessness which in medical parlor is called ‘dyspnoea’.
- Asthma affects 10 per cent of all children and about 5 per cent of all adults.
- It is more in industrialized regions.
- Its prevalence is increasing globally, so also hospital admissions due to acute, severe asthma.
- Death rate due to asthma in the elderly is increasing in western countries. In World we have no nation-wide data regarding morbidity or mortality due to asthma.
- However, the rise in the admissions to acute care units and the enormous increase in the prescribed medications indicate a growing trend.
asthmatics, asthma can mean any or all of the follow
- Cannot exercise freely.
- Cannot mow the lawn.
- Cannot smoke or be near people who do.
- Cannot dust furniture.
- Cannot take the kids to the zoo or circus.
- Cannot rely on feeling well enough to go to work every
- Cannot make long-range plans.
- Cannot even laugh too much.
- Under my more symptomatic patients tell me they long. Control over their lives! As we shall see, the happy,that they can.
Me first and most obvious thing to say about what is asthma that it is a serious and often devastating disease, affecting almost 10 million Americans (and perhaps millions more “closet” asthmatics). It appears to affect more males than females. While asthma can begin at any age, its onset is most common before the age of 15 and after the age of 45, and is among the leading causes of absenteeism in schools and in industry. According to the most recent task force report of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases.
- $1 billion dollars is spent each year on asthma medication.
- Another $1 billion is paid each year in disability benefits for asthma, emphysema, and chronic respiratory diseases.
- More than 125 million school days are lost each year by asthmatic children 6-15 years old-61.3 percent of total school days lost.
- A recent study found that in 1 year more than 25,000 people missed more than o million workdays because, of chronic allergic conditions.
- Some studies have shown that as much as 18 percent of a family’s income may go toward an asthma sufferer’s treatment.
- There are 27 million patient visits each year for the treatment of asthma.
- In one study of 134,000 hospital cases of asthma and hay fever, the average hospitalization was more than 8 days long and the total cost exceeded $62 million.
- There are as many as 5,000 documented deaths from asthma each year.
These are startling statistics about respiratory disorders In at remain shrouded in myths and misconceptions.
What the Asthma Attack Is Like?
In simple terms, an asthma sufferer’s lungs do not work properly.The airways of the lungs (large airways are Called bronchi,small ones are bronchioles) are constricted by certain abnormalities. For reasons discuss later, the asthmatic’s lungs are super sensitive and easily provoked into constriction.
The constriction begins as a bronchial spasm. This is often followed by a swelling of the airways and the production of excess sticky mucus.The mucus may form plugs and block (occlude) the air passages completely. Usually, there is a combination of the three: spasm, swelling, and excess mucus.
Since the airways have narrowed, it takes more effort to force air through them; this makes breathing very hard work for the asthmatic. During severe attacks, the sufferer may be exhausted, sweating, and speechless.
Forcing air through constricted airways is what causes wheezing (high-pitched rattling noises). During the onset of an attack, the problem is getting air out of the lungs, and wheezing is heard during exhalation. As the attack progresses, the wheezing can be heard during inhalation as well.
Wheezing may be loud enough to hear across the room or, if the air passages are seriously constricted, almost no sound may be heard.
Coughing is another common feature of what is asthma. It happens when the air passages are irritated by excessive mucus.
When the asthmatic has trouble breathing, most people would assume it is because he is unable to take in enough air. In fact, in asthma it is initially easier to inhale than to exhale.
Too much air remains in the lungs after inefficient asthmatic exhalation. This increased amount of stale air (residual volume) left in the lungs decreases the vital capacity, which is the amount of fresh air used by the lungs. The less fresh air available, the poorer the oxygenation of the whole body, not just the lungs. This is why asthma attacks are more dangerous the longer they persist.