What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition in which a person's airways become inflamed, narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. It can be a minor case or a major one that can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, it may lead to a life-threatening attack. The symptoms generally include difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough, and wheezing. The symptoms may sometimes flare up needing immediate attention and a doctor’s advice. Doctors use a range of criteria to diagnose asthma such as certain breathing tests to determine your condition.

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When there is an inflammation somewhere between the airways and the lungs, the condition of asthma occurs. It makes breathing extremely difficult in people, if not impossible. It also prevents you from undertaking any physical activity without an extreme amount of strain. The condition weakens the body, and if you have experienced a bout of it, you will know that it can drain you. Around the world, there are millions who suffer from the condition, and it is prevalent in children.

What is Asthma?

To understand the full story of asthma, you need an explanation about what happens while you breathe. Typically, with each breath taken by you, air passes through your mouth or nose. Travelling down your throat and into the air passages, eventually, it reaches your lungs, letting you breathe. Inside your lungs, there are several tiny airways that aid in the delivery of oxygen coming from the air to the bloodstream.

You get an asthma attack when the lining of your air passages gets swollen and the muscles surrounding them become tight. Then, mucus gets filled in the air passages, further reducing the amount of air that’s able to pass via airways. This brings on inability to breathe, with coughing and chest tightness, regularly problematic for asthmatics.

What are the Symptoms of Asthma?

For asthma treatment to have significant effects, signs and symptoms are an important consideration. Here are the signs and symptoms that are indicative of asthma:


  • Wheezing - This is the commonest of all asthma symptoms. A whistling/squealing sound while breathing indicates wheezing

  • Chest tightness - You get extreme tightness in the chest, feeling as if your heart is being ripped out

  • Coughing - Coughing occurs mostly at night, while laughing or during your exercise regimen

  • Fatigue

  • Panic/Anxiety

  • Shortness of breath

  • Finding it hard to talk

There are types of asthma, and each decides what symptoms take precedence. However, not everyone experiences characteristic asthma symptoms, or an intensity that is of a high degree. Nonetheless, if you have even mild symptoms, you should see your doctor. As initial symptoms go, you may not have a full-blown asthma attack.

What are the Causes of Asthma?

Experts haven’t pinpointed one cause for asthma. Researchers feel that the breathing disorder has causes in a number of factors, and that asthma is caused by any, some or a mix of these:


  • Heredity -

Genetics/family history have been shown to play a role in the development of asthma and its symptoms.

  • Viral infection history -

People who have a history of serious viral infections during their childhood may be prone to asthma.

  • Hygiene theories -

These propose that when babies don’t have enough exposure to bacteria, their immune systems develop less robustness to fight asthma and other allergies later on.

What are the Types of Asthma?

Many types of asthma exist, the commonest and most frequently occurring of which is bronchial asthma. This affects the bronchi located in your lungs. Other common forms are childhood asthma and adult asthma (onset after age 20). Other particular types are mentioned below:


  • Asthma due to allergy -

Also known as extrinsic asthma, this is triggered by various allergens such as animal dander, mold, dust, food and pollen. Seasonal asthma is related to this.

  • Asthma without allergy -

Also known as extrinsic asthma, this is caused by other irritants present. These may be burning wood, cold air, pollutants, cigarette smoke, paint, perfumes, etc.

  • Workplace/occupational Asthma -

Triggered by irritants specific to the workplace, such as dust, dyes, fumes, chemicals, rubber latex, etc.

  • Bronchoconstriction due to exercise -

This affects people a few minutes into any exercise, or 10-15 minutes after undertaking any form of physical activity.

  • Asthma due to Aspirin -

A severe form of asthma, asthma symptoms in adults account for this. Triggered by the intake of aspirin or ibuprofen (any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication), symptoms start in minutes or hours.

  • Asthma, Nocturnal type -

When symptoms in an asthma-affected person worsen at night, it's known as nocturnal asthma.

  • Cough Asthma -

Cough-variant asthma or CVA doesn’t show full-blown asthma symptoms like wheezing or shortness of breath. Instead, this is characterized by a long-standing dry cough.

The Classification of Asthma

To aid in diagnosis and asthma cure, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Programme of America has classified the condition. This is made based on the severity of asthma, and includes:


  • Intermittent Asthma -

This is the kind that most people suffer from. It doesn’t interfere with daily living activities and symptoms are mild. These last for two days in a month or so.

  • Persistent Mild -

Symptoms occur around twice a week, and are mild.

  • Persistent Moderate -

Symptoms are a daily occurence and one night per week. These put a few limits on activities of daily living.

  • Persistent Severe -

Symptoms take place daily and almost every night. Daily life is interfered with almost always.

For asthma prevention and the avoidance of recurrence, the classification makes it easier to diagnose.

The Diagnosis of Asthma

Doctors use a range of criteria to diagnose asthma and advise on asthma treatment. First, your health history will be taken and then the doctor will examine you physically, noting your breathing pattern. You may have to take a skin test to make a differential diagnosis of allergies. Certain breathing tests may be additionally used to determine your condition. Usually a bronchodilator is prescribed as a treatment protocol for asthma, along with other medication for asthma.

What are Home Remedies for Asthma?

Home remedies for asthma include breathing exercises that prove helpful in the long-term management of the condition. If you don’t have it yet, but have a family history of it, you can also take steps to prevent its onset. This helps:


  • Eating healthy food

  • Maintaining your weight

  • Exercising with regularity

  • Quitting smoking

  • Avoiding stress

  • Do breathing exercises and yoga

Tips to Prevent Asthma

Strategies to prevent asthma onset include:


  • The avoidance of triggering factors like allergens/odors

  • Getting shots for allergies

  • Taking preventive prescribed medicines

The Final Word

Although asthma can be debilitating in many cases, there are ways to prevent its onset. Undertaking home remedies and keeping your health in check, besides consistently exercising, are good ways to keep it at bay. In extreme cases, doctors recommend surgery and you can check out health insurance at Finserv MARKETS for this.

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