What asthma is?
It is a long term Inflammatory airway disorder that results in :
- airway tightening, causing difficulty in breathing. This produces the characteristic wheezing sound during asthma attacks
- It also produces excessive amount of mucus which makes it even harder for patient to breath, resulting in persistent cough
Asthma is a long term issue with periods of good quiescent times interrupted with periods of attacks. The goal of treatment is to minimize the number of attacks and hopefully reduce it to zero.
1. Family history of asthmatics
If you have a parent who has asthma - you are 3 to 6 times more likely to develop asthma
2. Allergic conditions
If you have allergic conditions like eczema or allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis, then your chance of getting asthma also increases
Smokers have a higher risk of asthma
4. Occupational exposure
There are certain types of asthma which may be caused and triggered by occupation exposures like industrial or wood dusts, chemical fumes and vapours.
- Persistent cough that is prolonged
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Excessive mucus production
Typically, symptoms are more pronounced at night or in the early morning - we describe this as the “ dusk and dawn “ phenomenon.
Asthma is diagnosed by your doctor using a combination of
- Characteristic history
- Characteristic findings on physical examination
- Objective tests which may include a chest X-ray and a lung function test