Asthma is a mild to severe chronic lung disease that restricts breathing. It is a very common disease that affects millions. Asthma can affect children and adults and can be influenced by a number of factors. It is also a condition that some may not be born with, yet develop it over time. While there is no cure, there are treatment options available depending on the severity of the case.
Types and Triggers of Asthma
While you’ll experience the same symptoms with each type of asthma, there are classifications in order to identify your triggers and best reduce and prevent asthma attacks in the future. Asthma can develop during childhood, known as childhood or pediatric asthma, or into adulthood, known as adult-onset asthma.
- Allergy-induced asthma. Allergies and asthma go hand in hand. Oftentimes, when we are exposed to allergens, such as animal dander, pollen, dust, and mold, it can trigger an asthmatic response.
- Non-allergic asthma. This type of asthma occurs when external or internal factors, such as weight, stress level, weather changes, perfume and pollution, cause an asthma attack.
- Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This is a very common type of asthma and occurs when physical exertion, including walking, running, jumping, or like exercise, leaves you failing to catch your breath and experiencing tightness in your chest. While it is common for breathing to change with exercise, when it is prolonged and causing difficulty when breathing, it could be induced asthma.
- Occupational asthma. Sometimes our jobs can cause an asthma attack, more specifically, jobs that expose us to allergens and irritants that we breathe in. Such jobs include, but are not limited to, those that deal with animals, dust and particles, heavy fumes, and airborne irritants.
- Nocturnal asthma. As it sounds, nocturnal asthma is when asthma flares while you sleep. Typically, this is due to breathing in dust, dander, or similar particles. These particles get into your lungs and cause inflammation and trouble breathing.
Asthma can also be triggered by other factors, if not diagnosed with the disease. Pregnancy, obesity, allergies, smoking tobacco, stress and the weather and environment can cause asthma to be prevalent, even if you are not diagnosed. It’s important to be able to identify when you are having an asthma attack, as it can be life-threatening if not treated.
How to Manage Asthma
Managing asthma is possible. Treatment options vary depending on age, severity level and type of asthma. While mild cases can be treated with a rescue inhaler, more serious cases may deem it necessary to be put on a nebulizer. Inhalers and nebulizers are designed to open airways and allow for easier breathing. On average, they work almost immediately after inhalation and prove to be a safe and effective way to manage asthma. If diagnosed with a specific type of asthma, there are other ways to help reduce symptoms and episodes of attack. Avoiding triggers of asthma can help reduce your risk of experiencing an asthma attack. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing trouble breathing, especially if those instances reveal a pattern that could indicate a trigger for asthma.