Each year, thousands die because of asthma, most of which could have been prevented with the proper asthma treatment. In America alone, about 30,000 individuals have an asthma attack per day and more than 17,000,000 have already been diagnosed with this condition. Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and it is common in children although some adults may also develop asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the muscles in the airways of the lungs to become tight and narrow. It also causes irritation and swelling of the lining of the air passages. The amount of air that can pass through the lungs is reduced and can bring about different asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and tightness of the chest.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by different allergens, substances that cause an allergy. Among the most common allergens that can trigger bronchial asthma include dust, smoke, animal hair and dander, exercise, respiratory infections, and changes in the weather. Some drugs can also trigger or worsen asthma, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), aspirin, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers.
Bronchial asthma is often confused with bronchitis due to the similarity in symptoms such as coughing and difficulty in breathing. Both conditions involve inflammation of the bronchial tubes and the main difference between the two conditions is the cause. Asthma is a chronic disease while bronchitis is caused by an infectious microorganism in the lungs, usually a virus or bacteria.
Risk Factors for Asthma:
Several factors are believed to increase an individual’s risk for developing asthma. This includes having a parent or sibling that also has the disease and having other types of allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Being overweight, smoking, and exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase one’s risk of developing this condition. Low birth weight and children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are also more likely to have asthma.
Treatment for Asthma
Asthma treatment per se is not a cure for the disease itself. Rather, it focuses more on controlling the symptoms and avoiding possible triggers. Drugs are usually used to prevent an attack as well as for symptom control during an asthma attack. Maintenance drugs should be taken every day to avoid an attack and usually include corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, and leukotriene inhibitors. For asthma attacks, quick-relief drugs are commonly used and include steroids and short-acting bronchodilators.
Boosting Asthma Immunity:
Building immunity against asthma may be necessary especially if an individual has several risk factors for the disease. Exposing an individual at a young age, ideally during infancy, to different asthma triggers like dust and pet hair can actually increase one’s chances of getting immunity from the disease.
In a study conducted by Professor Raina Maier for the American Society of Microbiology, results showed that exposure to dust can help boost the immune system of children. Modern houses are believed to be too clean and this reduces the amount of dust that children are exposed to. By exposing children to a different environment such as a nursery, it allowed children to come in contact with new dust and allergens that can help strengthen the body’s ability to fight bacteria. Having a pet at home can also increase dust and allergens at home, giving children better abilities to cope with factors that can trigger asthma.
When it comes to boosting immunity from asthma and other respiratory problems, cleaner isn’t definitely better. Children need to be exposed to dust from different environments to help build their immune system which in turn is important in the prevention of the development of childhood asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that can persist throughout one’s life and prevention through strong immunity is the best path to take.