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By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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What Is Asthma

Asthma represents a chronic lung disease that manifests on long term and is characterized by an inflammation and narrowing of the airways. If affects individuals of all ages, but it generally has the onset during childhood.

According to some research, the prevalence has progressively increased starting with 1970s. Some studies point out that somewhere between two hundred fifteen and three hundred million individuals are affected on a global level and the deaths are estimated at two hundred fifty thousand deaths.

This bodily problem has existed since ancient Egyptian periods and there is actually certain evidence which reveals that it has appeared even before that time. There is a paper named the Georg Elbers Papyrus which was found in 1870 that features possible natural ways of curing asthma and their number is at over seven hundred.

On the other hand, the term originates from Greece, particularly from the verb “aazein” which means “to exhale with an open mouth.” Its first medical utilization is accredited to a text written by Hippocrates. However, it was only until 1930s that was described as a psychosomatic illness as one of the dangerous types.


So far, there is no specific thing linked to the causes of asthma. Therefore, they may vary depending on the individuals who are affected. However, there is consistency in the fact that airways which come in contact with a trigger of asthma become narrow and eventually fill with mucus.

In most of the situations, allergies play a core role in its development. As far as allergic people go, they can only blame the genetic components and family history. This is why if a related person suffers from it, it is of high importance to understand the triggers in order to avoid it. Some examples of these are food and environmental factors. If a person has high chances of developing asthma, he or she should avoid staying outdoors during periods marked by air pollution as well as certain aliments that have been known to negatively influence some family members.

Signs & Symptoms

Among the main characterizations of asthma there is an inflammation linked to the bronchial tube due to an enhanced production of secretions that are stick and deposit within the tubes. On a general perspective, the common symptoms that are experienced by people who suffer from this bodily condition are night coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and pain or pressure in the chest. The wheeze is actually a coarse and continuously whistling sound that is produced by the airways in the breathing cycles.

People should know that not everybody that has asthma experiences symptoms in a specific way and they may differentiate depending on the severity, age, and time of appearance. For instance, while there are some who have asthma on a daily basis, others manifest symptoms during intense physical activity or certain viral infections such as cold.

Even though most of its signs don’t appear to influence people’s activities on a daily basis, in order to avoid a potential attack, some solutions should be applied as soon as possible. Other symptoms include feelings of weakness during an exercise program, breath-loss, changes or decrease in lung functionality after some measurements with a peak-flow meter, sleeping troubles, and allergy signs such as nasal congestion, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing.

However, an asthma attack may appear in people that have this condition, mostly due to bronchospasms. The attack is often characterized by a swelling of the airways whose cells produce thicker mucus as compared to normal situations. Signs of the attack include difficulty talking, feelings of panic as well as anxiety, unstoppable coughing, pale face, and blue lips or fingernails.

Diagnosis Asthma

In order to properly diagnose this disease, a person should be a subject of a series of medical tests and give a detailed family history. The examinations usually happen in a doctor’s cabinet and imply a physical examination. Based on this, the severity of the conditions will also be determined. It can be moderate, severe or mild.

On the other hand, the doctor may also recommend a visit to an asthma specialist if the person requires special testing, suffer from a life-threatening form, needs higher doses of prescribed medications in order to keep it controlled or desires to follow some allergy treatments.

The importance of the medical history relies on the idea that the majority of asthma cases have been randomly triggered by certain factors that have previously affected a family member and could have been easily avoided.

Specialized testing include EKG, chest x-ray, bronchoprovocation, and some related to vocal cord dysfunction, sleep apnea, and asthma.

Treatment for Asthma

The key with asthma is to control the symptoms apparition and try to prevent its trigger at all price. The treatment generally involves recognizing potential triggers and following certain steps in order to avoid its occurrence. Furthermore, those who are already exposed to it should track their breathing on a daily basis to notice possible irregularities throughout the breathing cycles. In situations in which the asthma is characterized by a flare-up or an attack, a person should utilize a quick-relief inhaler like albuterol.

Prescribed medication usually suggested for people that have this condition may vary depending on a number of factors such as age, sex, and allergies. For instance, there are some who require allergy medication while other may only use the bronchodilators that help by opening swollen airways which determine the limited-breathing. Among long-term medication destined for asthma control, there are inhaled corticosteroids such as budesonide, beclomethasone ,and fluticasone, Leukotriene modifiers, and Beta agonists like salmeterol and Therophylline. Examples of popular allergy medication include Omalizumab and immunotherapy based on allergy shots. Moreover, for asthma that doesn’t seem to enhance through regular corticosteroids treatment, there is a new experimental way called bronchial thermoplasty in which muscle from the airways is reduced, thus easing breathing and potentially reducing asthma attacks.

For those who want to avoid prescribed medication at all cost or just want to try a natural alternative to it, supplements featuring ingredients like Omega-fatty acids, Bromelain, Boswellia, and Butterbur are to be sought because they are among the ones to deliver the best results, according to some scientific research as well as testimonials from people that have tried them.