What is asthma?

It is a common chronic disease that people at all ages may get, especially children and adolescents. It affects the respiratory system, specifically the airways (bronchi) through which air passes to and from the lungs, which are blocked or narrowed causing difficulty breathing and shortness of breath called asthma attacks.


Common Mistakes:

- What I Have Is Chest Allergy, Not Asthma:

In fact, there is no difference between asthma and chest allergy. They are two names for the same disease and not two different one or one of them is of lesser severity than the other one.

- Asthma is a disease that affects children only, and a person recovers from it automatically upon adulthood:

Although asthma usually begins early in childhood, and there may be a gradual improvement with age, it may develop and continue into adulthood. It affects all ages without exception.

- Asthma is a communicable disease that can be passed on to others.

Asthma is a non-communicable disease and is not transmitted from one person to another. It is a chronic non-communicable disease. However, respiratory viral infections (such as colds and influenza) may cause complications for an asthmatic patient and should be avoided.

- Asthma can only be treated with large doses of cortisone:

 In most cases, asthma can be controlled and managed with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids that do not cause major side effects.​

- Asthma medication are addictive in children:

Incorrect, and there is no reliable scientific evidence for such misinformation, which is widespread among many asthma patients and their families.

- It is not recommended for asthma patients to exercise, and it is best to avoid sports:

If you can control your asthma and follow your doctor's instructions, you can exercise freely and benefit from the many health benefits of exercising.

What are the symptoms of these attacks or episodes?

  • Cough or frequent cough
  • Wheezing while breathing
  • Difficulty or shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Sleep disturbance due to shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms and they recur frequently, you may have asthma, and you should see a doctor to make sure if it is asthma or not.

What happens during these episodes or attacks?

The airways (bronchi) constricts due to swelling and contraction of the surrounding muscles on the one hand, and increased secretion of mucus (phlegm) on the other hand, blocking them or causing them to narrow. So, the patient begins to feel the symptoms of an asthma attack or episode.

Symptoms of acute asthma attacks:

•      Previous symptoms recur and get worse.

•      Repeated need to use an emergency inhaler but it doesn't help.

•      Difficulty speaking due to shortness of breath.

•      Inability to do any physical activity, even the lightest ones.

How do I make sure that I have asthma?

It is not easy to diagnose asthma, but it depends mainly on knowing your medical history by visiting and following up with your doctor, who asks you several questions about your symptoms and their impact on your life activities, and asks you about your family history to make sure that you family members have asthma or other allergic diseases.

Your doctor will also perform the necessary clinical tests, such as listening to the lung sound with a stethoscope to check for any wheezing or sounds during breathing.

Sometimes your doctor will do a test to measure how well your lungs function and how quickly the air is flowing out during exhalation to make sure the diagnosis is right.

Is there a solution or treatment for asthma?

Yes sure. Although there is no treatment that completely cures the disease, being a chronic disease, but you can control it to reduce attacks. For living a normal life, follow these simple steps:

•      Use the preventive asthma inhaler as prescribed by your doctor. This inhaler is for preventing or reducing asthma attacks or episodes as much as possible, and not only for use during attacks. It is used for prevention, as its name suggests.

•      Avoid asthma triggers: They are numerous and differ from person to person. Exposure to these triggers or irritants makes your asthma worse, and you start to feel these attacks. Early recognition of these triggers and avoiding them is the first step in treatment.

•      Use an emergency asthma inhaler only at the time of attacks to relieve symptoms. Remember that an emergency asthma inhaler is used to treat symptoms only, and is not as helpful in preventing or reducing attacks as a preventive asthma inhaler is.

What asthma triggers that should be avoided?

These triggers (irritants) may differ from person to person. You can identify them and avoid them as much as possible to reduce the occurrence of asthma attacks.

 Common triggers for most people include:

•      Tobacco products, such as cigarettes and hookahs.

•      Incense and air pollutants or smoke resulting from burning wood.

•      Dust mites that are found in almost all homes, especially in sheets and pillows

•      Car or factory emissions.

•      Insects and their frass, such as cockroaches

•      Pets, especially those with fur such as cats or dogs

•      Weather fluctuations, such as dust, rain or extreme cold.

•      Allergies to some types of food and drinks, or to preservatives added to them.

•      Viral infections or colds

•      Intense emotional outbursts.

•      Chemicals, such as detergents or sterilizers

General Instructions:

•      Visit your doctor regularly to follow up your health condition and asthma control.

•      Use your medication properly and regularly, according to the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

•      Stay away from asthma triggers and avoid them.

•      Learn how to use the inhaler or funnel properly

•      Avoid allergic foods and medicines.

•      Always keep with you an emergency asthma inhaler.

•      Get a flu vaccine every year to avoid infection and triggering asthma.

•      Stay away from intense psychological emotions

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