Asthma

Asthma is a disease which occurs in our lungs. Lungs are the organs which are helpful for breathing. We have two lungs in the chest on either side like balloons, containing air. They will take the oxygen inside from the air around us and throw out carbon-di-oxide which is an excretory waste product. The lungs will receive air from outside atmosphere through the nose and mouth via windpipe. The windpipe keeps dividing into 2 and then to 4 like an inverted tree. These Windpipe will end in a soap bubble structure called Alveoli.

From the alveoli, oxygen enters the body and carbon-di-oxide is sent out. This oxygen goes to millions of cells in the body for sustaining life and gives energy for the functioning of every cell and organ. Carbon-di-oxide is exhaled out as an end-excretory product. Normally, air will flow freely in and out of the lungs. In case of people who are suffering from Asthma, the windpipe diameter will be reduced because of inflammation, thereby the air entry into the body will automatically reduce.

As a result, all the cells in the body will suffer from a lack of oxygen. Therefore, we can also call Asthma as disease of Airways where the windpipe will narrow. There will be a sound called ‘WHEEZE’ which may arise because of reduction in the diameter. Because of this condition during cough, people tend to get thick and sticky phlegm. Some patients may experience Breathlessness and Chest tightness.

Symptoms:

  • Wheeze
  • Cough
  • Phlegm
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest tightness

Asthma may be accompanied by other allergic symptoms like Sneezing, Blocked or running nose, Sore throat, Itchy skin with or without lesions and Itchy eyes.

Diagnostic Test:

  • X-ray chest PA
  • X-ray para nasal sinus
  • Liver function test+
  • Complete Blood count

Triggering factors:

There are certain conditions which can trigger Asthma and these can be avoided.

  • Inhaled allergens like pollens, dust mites in beds, cat, dog, bird allerasthmagens, air pollution and cigarette smoke.
  • Emotional Factors- mood swings, laughing, crying and exercise.
  • Chemical irritants which may include gases
  • Respiratory infections
  • Medications like Aspirin, Beta-blockers, NSAIDS which are prescribed for Hypertension, Heart disease etc
  • Temperature changes
  • Food Allergens like citrus fruits, shelled seafoods, curd, buttermilk, pickles, refrigerated foods etc

Treatment:

The treatment depends on the type  and the severity of asthma.

ACUTE ASTHMA:

  • Inhaled Beta-adrenergic drugs
  • Nasal or mask oxygen
  • IV aminophylline
  • IV or oral corticosteroids
  • Inhaled or nebulized Anticholinergic agents
  • Fluid intake of 3L/day

STATUS ASTHMATICUS:

Inhaled Beta-adrenergic drugs and/or Anticholinergic agents

  • IV aminophylline
  • Oxygen by mask or nasal prongs
  • IV corticosteroids
  • IV Fluids
  • IV magnesium
  • Intubation and assisted ventilation(If necessary)

CHRONIC ASTHMA:

  • Elimination of causative factors or triggers(If known)
  • Desensitization (Immunotherapy)
  • Beta-adrenergic drugs (Inhaled or Oral)
  • Theophylline compound
  • Corticosteroids
  • Cromolyn sodium
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s