If your doctor told you that you have asthma you are not alone. About one out of five people in the world may have asthma. Asthma is a disorder with a genetic link. With availability of recent medicines asthma can be controlled completely and you can live a normal life.
The air passages in the lungs are lined by velvet like mucous membrane which gets inflamed when exposed to an irritating agent. The normally thin and pink lining becomes swollen and red in asthma. The muscle fibres surrounding the air passages will contract and further narrow the air passages causing the familiar symptoms of cough, wheezing and breathlessness.
Apart from symptoms of asthma the confirmation of diagnosis is done by performing a test on a computer (lung function test). The test also gives the doctor information regarding severity of Asthma, so that he can choose right medicines. Of course the doctor will ask for a few more tests like an X-ray of chest and some simple blood tests to rule other diseases which appear similar to Asthma.
Asthma attacks are actually initiated (triggered) by dust, smoke (including tobacco), chilled food and drinks, changes in weather etc. Some other common Indian trigger factors are cleaning or transferring food grains, handling old books, files and news papers, dusting shelves, removing cob webs, fresh paints, cleaning bathrooms with acids, mosquito mats and coils etc. The more you avoid trigger factors, the less Asthma you will have.
Actually there are no specific food restrictions. Chilled food and drinks (taken out from a refrigerator) may sometimes trigger Asthma. If you strongly feel a specific food is causing Asthma immediately or the next day, avoid it. For children, best advice is to avoid chocolates, sweets, cool drinks and junk food(which contain a lot of additives and artificial colors).
Exercise is good for Asthma and infact beneficial to overall and complete health. Aerobics like swimming, shuttle and simple brisk walk of 40 minutes are the best.
Asthma drugs are of two kinds. 1. Relievers and 2. Preventers. Relievers are drugs which dilate (open up) the narrow air passages of lungs and give relief from all symptoms. But their action will last only a few hours and the air passages narrow once again. This happens because the swollen, red velvety mucous membrane is persisting. That is why we need Preventers (anti inflammatory drugs) which reduces and controls the inflammation of mucous membrane so that further attacks do not happen and then you will not need use of Relievers frequently.
is use Relievers only when you have asthma symptoms and use Preventers daily even when you have no asthma. (How long? Will be decided by your Asthma Specialist)
The Reliever drugs and Preventer drugs are available in medical stores on the prescription of your doctor. They come as injections, capsules, tablets, syrups and also as inhalers. All these drugs (except inhalers) are heavy in weight, soak the whole body slow acting and produce side effects. These drugs are O.K. for short term use but not for long term use. On the other hand inhalers contain the same drugs but have excellent advantages. The dose is a fraction (0.005%), reaches the inflamed lung in a second cause no side effects and are ideally suited for long term use, for several years. What is more, they are safe for infants, children and even pregnant women.