Asthma

February 2017


Definition


Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the bronchi. It is a chronic disease that manifests itself with crises in which the person has difficulty breathing, and begins wheezing. Between episodes, breathing is normal in most asthmatics. An allergy is a major cause of asthma. It may be a result of allergies to pollen, dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold ... Smoking is also an aggravating factor.

Symptoms


There are different degrees of asthma, ranging from mild asthma to severe asthma depending on the severity of the episodes, the respiratory frequency and the frequency of crises (one or more per week). An asthma attack is characterized by difficulty breathing especially towards the end episode, breathing with a wheezing sound at the end, and sometimes coughing. This type of attack may be accompanied by ancillary symptoms such as severe fatigue, difficulty for blood to be oxygenated (the face becomes bluish) or tachycardia.

Diagnosis


A professional can diagnose asthma after witnessing a crisis with the symptoms mentioned above. Outside of a crisis, it is still possible to determine the origin and severity of asthma by conducting a series of analyzes:
  • pulmonary function which determines respiratory capacity;
  • bronchial provocation test (comparison between the volume of exhaled air before and after being in contact with an allergen);
  • reversibility test of the obstruction following inhalation of a product dilating the bronchi.

Treatment


Asthma, as a chronic disease, should be treated on a regular basis. We can distinguish two types of treatment: the treatment of asthma crises, and background treatment. The treatment procedure for future crises must be known by the parents and by the child if the latter is able to understand the use of inhaled medications for bronchiectasis, such as salbutamol or terbutaline. Corticosteroids can also be taken as a medication for a few days in decreasing doses. In case the crisis doesn't improve despite the proper use of treatment, the patient must go to the hospital so that further treatment can be administered. Background treatment on the other hand calls for inhaled corticosteroids such as beclomethasone or budesonide or other molecules such as bronchodilators (Foradil) or anti-leukotrienes (Singulair).

Prevention


There is no permanent cure for asthma. However, crises are likely to become rarer in some cases. For this, it is essential to stop smoking and beware of secondhand smoking. Moreover, it is important to avoid contact with allergens as much as possible, in the case of allergy-induced asthma. For example, when possible use anti-dust mite house linens, avoid cats if you are allergic to their fur... The education of the patient or his parents is essential and reduces the incidence of severe crises. Different organizations can help you to better understand.

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Published by Jeff. Latest update on June 4, 2013 at 02:02 PM by Jeff.
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