A chronic inflammatory disease, which causes airways to swell-up and narrow, and is at the same time a serious global health problem. This is bronchial asthma. For some people this condition may be a minor nuisance, while for others it may lead to a life-threatening state. Bronchial asthma symptoms include breathlessness, chest tightness, wheezing, etc. Bronchial asthma treatment aims to obtain long-term control over the attacks and prevent them in future, where options may include various medications, inhalers or bronchial thermoplasty. Below we are going to review this condition, symptoms it causes, as well as diagnostic services and bronchial asthma treatment options in more detail.
Asthma attacks all age groups but often starts in childhood. It is a disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. In an individual, they may occur from hour to hour and day to day. This condition is due to inflammation of the air passages in the lungs and affects the sensitivity of the nerve endings in the airways so they become easily irritated. In an attack, the lining of the passages swell causing the airways to narrow and reducing the flow of air in and out of the lungs. Asthma is a minor nuisance for some people. While for others, it can be a problem big enough to interfere with daily activities and may even lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Can BRONCHIAL ASTHMA be cured?
There is currently no cure but the symptoms can be controlled. As asthma often changes over time, it’s important to work with your doctor to track the signs and symptoms and adjust the treatment where required.
BRONCHIAL ASTHMA SYMPTOMS
- Shortness in breath
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Trouble sleeping (due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing)
- Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing attacks (worsened when experiencing a respiratory virus) such as a cold or the flu)
BRONCHIAL ASTHMA TREATMENT OPTIONS
Preventive, long-term control medications reduce the inflammation in your airways that leads to symptoms. Quick-relief inhalers (bronchodilators) quickly open swollen airways that are limiting breathing. In some cases, allergy medications are necessary. Long-term asthma control medications, generally taken daily, are the cornerstone of asthma treatment. These medications keep asthma under control on a day-to-day basis and make it less likely you’ll have an asthma attack. Quick-relief (rescue) medications are used as needed for rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack — or before exercise if your doctor recommends it. Allergy medications may help if your asthma is triggered or worsened by allergies.
This treatment — which isn’t widely available nor right for everyone — is used for severe asthma that doesn’t improve with inhaled corticosteroids or other long-term asthma medications. Generally, over the span of three outpatient visits, bronchial thermoplasty heats the insides of the airways in the lungs with an electrode, reducing the smooth muscle inside the airways. This limits the ability of the airways to tighten, making breathing easier and possibly reducing asthma attacks.
how is BRONCHIAL ASTHMA diagnosed?
- Physical exam: This is done to rule out other possible conditions like a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Questions about your signs and symptoms may also be asked.
- Spirometry: To estimate the narrowing of your bronchial tubes. This is done by checking how much air you are able to exhale and how fast after a deep breath.
- Peak flow: A device that is able to measure how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual readings are a sign that your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings will be given by your doctor.
- Methacholine challenge: Methacholine is a known asthma trigger that, when inhaled, will cause mild constriction of your airways. If you react to the methacholine, you likely have asthma. This test may be used even if your initial lung function test is normal.
- Exhaled nitric oxide test: This test, though not widely available, measures the amount of the gas, nitric oxide that you have in your breath. When your airways are inflamed (a sign of asthma) you may have higher than normal nitric oxide levels.
- Imaging tests: Your lungs and nose cavities may be tested with a chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) to help to identify any structural abnormalities or diseases that may cause or aggravate breathing problems.
- Allergy testing: Performed with a skin test or blood test to identify allergic reactions to pets, dust, mold and pollen. This can lead to a recommendation for allergen immunotherapy if important allergy triggers are identified.
- Sputum eosinophils: Certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the mixture of saliva and sputum produce while coughing. Eosinophils are present when the symptoms develop and become visible (stained with a rose-colored dye). v
- Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma: To measure your airway obstruction before and after you perform vigorous physical activity or when you take several breaths of cold air.