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  • drgoelmanoj@yahoo.co.in
Dr. Manoj K Goel
Director & Head
Dept of Pulmonology, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
Fortis Memorial Research Institute,Gurugram(Delhi & NCR)

Q1)What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that causes the swelling and tightness of airways of the lungs. This reduces the amount of air that can pass through the airway leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Q2)Who can get Asthma?

In persons who have sensitive airways, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in substances called allergens or triggers.  Common asthma triggers include pet hair or dander, dust mites, certain medicines like aspirin and some pain relieving drugs, changes in weather most often winters, molds in damp areas, pollens, respiratory infections such as the common cold, strong emotions, stress and tobacco smoke.  Besides, asthma can run in families due to genetic predisposition.

Q3)What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma usually presents with difficulty in breathing, wheezing and cough. Some patients can only present with chronic cough and chest tightness. Most people with asthma have episodic attacks separated by symptom-free periods. Some people have long-term shortness of breath.

Q4)When to contact a doctor?

Asthma is a disease of reversible airflow obstruction.  Hence, an early visit to a doctor if you have symptoms suggestive of asthma can prevent it from becoming irreversible which will allow you to lead a normal life.  Emergency symptoms that need prompt medical help include increased breathing difficulty, increased cough with expectoration, chest tightness, bluish color to the lips and face, decreased level of alertness, confusion, severe anxiety, rapid pulse, and sweating.Contact your doctor or go to the emergency room if an asthma attack requires more medicine than recommended, symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment, and if you have shortness of breath while talking.

Q5)How to diagnose asthma?

Diagnosis of asthma is based on relevant clinical history and lung function test.A peak flow meter is a simple device to measure how quickly you can move air out of your lungs.  It can help you see if an attack is coming, sometimes even before symptoms appear.  Peak flow values of 50% - 80% of your best results are a sign of a moderate asthma attack. Numbers below 50% are a sign of a severe attack.  Peak flow meter is especially useful in children.

 

 

Q6)Is Asthma treatable?

The goals of treatment are to control airway swelling, relieve spasm of the airways and staying away from substances that trigger your symptoms.  There are two kinds of medicines for treating asthma:Control medicines and Quick-relief (rescue) medicines.Delivering these medicines by inhalation therapy as puffs is the cornerstone in the treatment of asthma.  Long-term Medicines also called maintenance or control medicines are used to prevent symptoms in people with moderate to severe asthma. Quick-relief Medicines also called rescue medicines are taken for treating symptoms, or an asthma attack.  Tell your doctor if you are using quick-relief medicines twice a week or more. Your asthma may not be under control and your doctor may need to change your dose of daily control drugs.

Q7) How can asthma attacks be prevented.

You must take control medicinesas prescribed by your doctor every day even when you feel alright.  Please remember that these medicines are the safest and most effective when taken in the form of inhalers. You can reduce asthma symptoms by avoiding triggers and substances that irritate the airways. Avoid perfumes, body sprays, talcum powder and other smelling substances.  Remove carpets and keep the house clean to reduce the possibility of dust mites and cockroaches as their body parts and droppings can trigger asthma attacks in some people. If a person is allergic to an animal that cannot be removed from the home, the animal should be kept out of the bedroom. Eliminate tobacco smoke and avoid air pollution, industrial dust, and irritating fumes as much as possible.

 

 

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