Asthma is one of the most scary medical conditions which can affect both adults and children. Symptoms of asthma vary widely from person to person and are sometimes even different within the same person.
Asthma is a disease of the airways- bronchi and bronchioles. It is characterized of constriction of the smooth muscles of the airways, by inflammation and excessive secretion of mucus. This causes narrowing of the air passages, increasing the effort of breathing and reducing the amount of oxygen available. Read about Asthma in children
There is a genetic component to asthma where children of asthmatics are more prone to develop asthma. It can be triggered by :
- viral infection of respiratory tract
- inhaled irritants like tobacco, smoke, pollutants, and fumes
- vigorous exercise or stress
- allergies to pollen, mold, and pets
- exposure to cold air
Asthma attacks can be very severe which can lead to decreased oxygen in the blood requiring external ventilation. Death caused by asthma is not uncommon.
Symptoms vary from person to person. They include dry cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and audible wheezing. In severe cases, there can be increased heart rate, sweating, extreme anxiety and inability to speak without gasping for air.
-Physical exam by medical personnel
Diagnostic tests include:
-Pulmonary function tests
-skin test for allergens
Classification of Asthma
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