Asthma is a long-lasting lung disease. It affects bronchi and bronchioles, which makes breathing challenging or impossible because of reduced air flow. You can get asthma at any age and the reactions vary from mild to severe, and that can/could cause death if not carful. With asthma, people have constant inflammation in their airways. They can be extremely sensitive to some things that trigger it. Such things can be pollen, dust, cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants. People with seasonal allergies may have asthma as well. Like me, I have seasonal allergies and my asthma acts up a lot in the spring. These can trigger asthma attacks. When an asthma attack happens, the bronchi and bronchioles swell up, the bronchial muscles tighten, and mucus production increases. This is what makes breathing very difficult/impossible.
Some common symptoms of people who have asthma are coughing (especially at night), wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness (pain and/or pressure). Not every person with asthma has the same symptoms though.
These are some early warning signs of asthma. They are frequent coughing, (especially at night), losing your breath easily or shortness of breath, feeling very tired or weak when exercising, wheezing or coughing after exercise, feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody, signs of a cold or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headache), and trouble sleeping.
Here are some symptoms of and asthma attack. They are severe wheezing when breathing both in and out, coughing that won't stop, very rapid breathing, pain/pressure in chest, tightened neck and chest muscles, difficulty talking, feelings of anxiety or panic, pale/sweaty face, and blue lips or fingernails.
You can’t really prevent asthma, but there are some ways that can help manage it. People with asthma usually take an inhaler. An inhaler is a hand held device that delivers medication to the lungs when you inhale it. There are two main types of inhalers, metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers. Metered dose inhalers work by the person applying pressure to the inhaler canister and at the same time, inhaling the medicine into the lungs. It comes out fast because of a chemical propellant. Dry powder inhalers don’t come out fast because they don’t have a chemical propellant. For this inhaler to work, the person must inhale fast when the inhaler canister is compressed. Some people who have asthma and are very young and ill can’t use an inhaler correctly, so they use a nebulizer, which is a mask worn over the mouth and nose. The medicine is suspended in a mist.
- There are 4000 deaths each year due to asthma
- The yearly cost of asthma is estimated to be nearly $18 billion
- Asthma is the number one cause of children missing school (more than 14 million total missed days of school)
- African American women have the highest asthma death rate of all groups, more than 2.5 times higher than Caucasian women
- Asthma is more common with adult women than men, but it is more common with male children than female children
- More than 17 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma
- Asthma affects more than 4.8 million children
- Asthma accounts for 25% of all emergency room visits in the U.S. each year, with two million emergency room visits
- Every day, 30 000 Americans have an asthma attack