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Most asthmatics are not breathless
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic diseases where the airways or bronchial tubes are inflamed and therefore blocked.
This obstruction is variable: from mild crisis resolving spontaneously up to severe attacks requiring hospital admission.
The frequency of these flare-ups or attacks is also very variable: from one or twice a year up to a daily basis (mainly patients allergic to plant or tree pollen during the blooming season).
- Cough: mainly a “dry cough” (no mucus), intermittent or in flare-ups, both during the day or at night.
- Wheezing or whistling sound in your chest: produced by air passing through an obstructed airway. It can be so suttle not to be noticed.
- Shortness of breath: usually in a progressive way. It can be very severe but most ashmatics do not notice it. It is not essential for the diagnose of bronchial asthma.
- Secretions (“mucus”): generally accompaning the cough and leading to nausea or vomiting in children.
Can I be asthmatic?
It is one of the most frequent worlwide chronic diseases: some 300 milllion suffer it, and its frequency is growing in most countries, especially in children and young adults.
Starts normally (but not only) in childhood or adolescence, and some may get better during puberty. Nonetheless, half of the asmathics still continue suffering it in when they are adults.
Adult-onset asthma is rising: patients not suffering asthma symptoms during his/her adolescence and showing it when they are adults.
Causes of asthma
An ashtma patient can worsen when exposed to triggers:
- enviromental pollution: tobacco smoke, chemical agents (sprays, perfumes, petrol, paint).
- Emotions: laughing, crying or anxiety crisis can alter the respiratory rythm and trigger an asthma attack.
- some drugs: non-steroideal antiinflamatory (aspirin and some pain killers) and beta-blockers.
- other triggers: exercise, cold enviroment, humidity, infections, gastric reflux, etc.