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Causes and Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, but the exact cause of it remains unknown. There are, however, certain triggers that researchers have identified that cause asthma in some people. What happens is that when triggers come into contact with the airways, the airways become narrow and inflamed and begin to fill with mucus.

People who suffer from asthma are referred to as asthmatics, and they may be affected by long term asthma or periodic, recurrent asthma. Since scientists have not identified a particular cause of asthma, there are no known cures for this disease. It can be properly managed, however, so that people can lead normal, productive lives without constantly suffering.

Common Asthma Triggers

About 80% of people with asthma suffer from allergies, so there is a definite link between these. Allergies to airborne substances such as pollen, mold, pet dander, grass, trees, weed pollens, and dust mites all contribute to the development of asthma in many people.

Food additives are another cause of asthma in some people, but it is not common for people to develop asthmatic symptoms from these. Some of the most common food additives that cause allergic symptoms in people include:

  • Shellfish
  • Fresh fruits
  • Eggs
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Fish

Some people, on the other hand, only suffer from asthma when participating in physical activity, particularly strenuous exercise. Exercise-induced asthma causes people to feel chest tightness, coughing, and difficulty breathing during the first five minutes or so of a workout. Even after symptoms subside, some people are prone to developing another asthmatic episode hours after they have finished working out.

Symptoms of Asthma

For people with asthma, their symptoms present themselves whenever their airways fill with mucus, tighten or become inflamed. The classic symptoms of asthma are:

  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing (particularly at night)
  • Wheezing

All people who have asthma do not necessarily experience the exact same type or severity of symptoms. In fact, your symptoms may vary a bit from one asthma attack to another, making it sometimes difficult to properly diagnose this condition and rule out the possibility of other health problems being present.

Asthma attacks often present more severe symptoms than the classic symptoms of asthma. It is important to know the warning symptoms that indicate a building asthma attack so that medical assistance can be obtained as quickly as possible.

  • Severe wheezing
  • Extremely rapid breathing
  • Pale face
  • Uncontrollable coughing
  • Tightened neck or chest muscles
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Feeling anxious or panicky
  • Blue fingernails or lips
  • Difficulty talking

If left untreated, an asthma attack will cause a person’s breathing to become more labored. It is very important that people receive medical treatment during an asthma attack because the symptoms will continue to progressively get worse. In fact, if asthma attacks are left untreated, they usually result in death because a person becomes unable to breathe over time. It is not a condition that will simply go away or get better on its own.

The most important thing for asthmatics to do is keep regular appointments with their doctor. Having checkups as a part of your routine will help you to keep your asthma symptoms in check and under control.

By Jamell Andrews

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