According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25 million of Americans now are living with asthma and approximate 7 million of those are children. Rank as one of the most common and costly diseases in the US, it affects people of all ages and usually appears during childhood.
An overview about Asthma
Asthma (AZ-ma) is defined as a chronic (long-term) inflammatory lung disease that narrows the airways. This disease makes breathing difficult and cause recurring attacks of coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
To have a comprehensive overview about this disease, it’s necessary to understand how the airways work. Normally, when we breathe, air goes through our nose and down into our throat and finally comes to your lungs. The lungs include a lots of small air passages that function as a deliver that take from the air into our blood stream.
Symptoms start when the lining of these air passages swell and the muscles around them tighten. As a result, mucus gradually fills our airway – the tubes that carry air into and out of our lungs. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow the airways.
The airways (breathing passages) become very sensitive. These conditions then make an asthma “attack” — the coughing and tightness typical of asthma, they can result in asthma symptoms. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are inflamed.
Types of Asthma
It very difficult to put asthma into exact categories. In fact, everyone living with this disease experiences the condition differently – the underlying causes, symptoms and triggers of asthma and the way they respond to treatment are all different from the others. As a result, people use different terms to describe the different types of asthma. Basic types of the disease are described below.
- Allergic (Extrinsic) Asthma
Allergic (or extrinsic) asthma – the most common type of the disease. It typically develops during the childhood. It is triggered by allergens such as pet dander, food preservatives, mold, pollen. It is reported that approximately 70%-80% of children with asthma also have been reported to suffer from allergies. Typically, people with family history of allergies have a higher risk of this disease. Besides, other allergic conditions like nasal allergies or eczema, are often also present.
Allergic asthma often comes in early adulthood. However, in many cases, it reappears later. It is more likely to be seasonal as it often comes up with season allergies.
- Non-Allergic (Intrinsic) Asthma
This type usually occurs after the age of 30 and is not obviously related to allergies. Among all cases of asthma, intrinsic ones just take a small number. According to many reports, women are more frequently suffering from this type and many cases seem to follow a respiratory tract infection.
Notice that irritants in the air not related to allergies triggers. These irritants include: burning wood and cigarette, smoke, air pollution, air fresheners, household cleaning products, perfumes. It’s not easy to deal with the disease, in fact, even symptoms are chronic and year-round.
– Cough-Variant Asthma (CVA)
Classic symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath don’t exist in cough-variant asthma. CVA is characterized by a persistent, dry cough. Cough-variant asthma can lead to full-blown asthma that consisting of the other more common symptoms.
– Exercise-Induced (EIA)
Exercise-induced asthma affects people during or after physical activity. EIA can occur in people who are not sensitive to other triggers such as dust, pollen, and pet dander.
It is easy to recognize this type by obvious symptoms that worsen at night. Triggers such as heartburn, pet dander, and dust mites can cause bring on symptoms while sleeping.
Occupational asthma is characterized by triggers in the workplace. These include: dust, dyes, gases, fumes, animal proteins, rubber latex. These irritants can exist in a wide range of industries including farming, textiles, woodworking, and many manufacturing companies.
Until now, there has been no single cure for asthma. Even when you think that you don’t have asthma , you still do and it can flare up at any time.
Fortunately, with today’s knowledge and treatments, this disease can be managed. Thanks to the development of mediation, people who have asthma can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from its symptoms.
If you are suffering from the disease, don’t worry as you can take an active role in managing it. Complete a successful and ongoing treatment by cooperating with your doctor and find out what works best for yourself.