Asthma: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease related to our windpipe. When we inhale some foreign object ( eg – dusts, pollen grains etc) our body tries to throw that out by various ways. eg- coughing, sputum etc. In people with asthma, the sensitivity of the body is higher than normal level, they react very vigorously to even very little amount of foreign body. So when a foreign object enters the wind pipe of a person with asthma, they start coughing, feel short of breath etc.
Asthma overview image

Recovery Time

  • This can range from few weeks to several months depending upon the severity of your symptoms. There is no cure for asthma at present. The condition must be managed by medication or changes to lifestyle.
  • There is no cure for asthma, but the disorder can be controlled and enable people to enjoy good quality of life.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of asthma will be done based on the patient’s medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results.
Lung Function Test- Your doctor will use a test called spirometry to check how your lungs are working.
Other Tests
  • Allergy testing to find out which allergens affect you, if any
  • A broncho provocation test to test the sensititvity of airways
  • A test to show whether you have another condition with symptoms similar to asthma, such as reflux disease, vocal cord dysfunction, or sleep apnea
  • A chest X ray or an EKG (electrocardiogram)

Spirometry

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Asthma?
Asthma is a hyper-responsiveness of the airways – bronchus and bronchioles triggered by allergens, such as pollen.  It causes the bronchi and the bronchioles to constrict and hyper-secrete causing obstruction in airflow reaching the alveoli, where the exchange of gases takes place.

Q2.  How do I get Asthma?
You can get asthma at any age. you may get early in childhood if your parents are asthmatic. Change in weather or place can also trigger asthmatic attack.

Q3.  What is the treatment for asthma?
Inhaled bronchodilators, steroids are the mainstay for the treatment of acute asthma. They are  also  used as prophylaxis to prevent the attack. Oral medications are given in case of severe asthma. 

Q4.  How long does it take to cure? And are there any chance of recurrence?
There is no known cure for asthma in Allopathy. We can only prevent its occurrence by avoiding the allergen which can trigger asthma. The triggers may be different for different individual.

Q5.  How do I prevent Asthma?
You can prevent asthma by avoiding allergen or by taking prescribed inhalers regularly. 

Q6.  What are the complications of Asthma?
There may be associated bacterial infection, in which case you will require antibiotics.





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