Are you suffering from chronic cough, then Asthma could be one of the reasons. It is a condition in which an individual’s airways become narrow and swollen and produce excessive mucus, which makes one feel short of breath. Asthma can be a minor issue in some, or it may interfere with daily activities in few and in some cases, it may lead to a life-threatening attack.
Asthma is a common airway disease and more than 10 million people suffer from asthma in India alone. According to one of the surveys asthma care accounts to about 1.2% of national GDP. Approximately 300 million people worldwide currently have asthma, and its prevalence increases by 50% every decade. In North America, 10% of the population has asthma. The financial burden on patients with asthma in different Western countries ranges from $300 to $1,300 per patient per year.
Asthma is a disease of remissions and exacerbations and usually presents with difficulty in breathing, chest tightness, cough, and wheezing. Though asthma is most of the times allergic disorder, it may also be no allergic-like related to exercise, emotions, and occupation. Triggers for asthma vary among individuals, but the most common substances are pollens, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste. Cold air and certain food items or drugs may also be triggers in some.
One needs to seek prompt advice by a medical professional, (preferably Pulmonologist/Chest Physician) once he/she comes across symptoms mentioned above. Your consultant may advice various blood tests, chest radiograph, FeNO and most important of all pulmonary function tests.
Mainstay or backbone of treatment in patients with asthma is INHALER THERAPY. Once diagnosed the patient is put on either controller medications or rescue medications or both. Rescue medications help in quick relief of symptoms, whereas controller medications help in preventing future exacerbations. These preventive medications or controller medications treat the airway inflammation and one needs to use them on a daily basis, these medications can reduce or eliminate asthma flare-ups. Bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory agents and leukotriene antagonists are some of the classes of drugs used in the treatment of asthma.
Asthma severity always keeps changing. Setting up an asthma action plan in consultation with your doctor and reviewing the same at regular follow-ups will avoid asthma attacks and minimize the disruptions caused by asthma exacerbations.