Asthma – Basic Information
Asthma is chronic respiratory disease. During an asthma attack, the occurrence of respiratory airways inflammation will narrow the airways and reduce of oxygen supply to the lungs. Patient with asthma attack may present with cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness.
Picture 1 – Respiratory system
Source: Copyright from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com)
There are three (3) major features for asthma, which are:
- Airway obstruction – during normal breathing, the bands of muscle that surround the airways are relaxed. However, in asthmatic patient triggered by dust or food such as groundnut, these triggers make the bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten and air cannot move freely.
- Inflammation – asthmatic patient has red, inflamed and swollen respiratory airways. Permanent damage will happen if asthma is not treated at the early stage and well controlled.
- Airway irritability – the airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive to the triggers such as dust, animal dander and others.
Can asthma be cured?
Asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled.
How to control and reduce the frequency and severity of asthmatic attack?
Recognition of risk factor in asthmatic patient is important in controlling the asthma. There are ways to control the asthma:
- Identify the risk factors and triggers for asthma
- This risk factors and triggers are varies among patient.
- After recognizing the risk factors or triggers, preventive or control measure need to be done and individualized, so that the effect will be the best.
- For an example, asthmatic attack that caused by air pollution or haze, as a preventive measure, patient needs to reduce outdoor activities and stay in building.
Picture 2: Groundnut triggers asthmatic attack in patient.
- Reduce the frequency of asthmatic attack or control it by taking medicine according to doctor’s instruction and to follow the clinic visitation as scheduled. These are preventive measures that patient should follows:
- Asthmatic patient should prepare a medical record on symptoms, frequency of asthmatic attack and what is the possible cause that may trigger the attack;
- Follow up visit to clinic as scheduled to monitor the progress and severity of asthma;
- Take medicine according to doctor’s instruction.
Picture 3: Medicine should be taken according to doctor’s instruction
- Healthy lifestyle
- Do regular exercise – there is an asthmatic attack induced by exercise. If this happen, patient should consult their doctor and discuss on the most suitable exercise for them and on proper way to exercise
- Get or maintain ideal bodyweight – for patient with chronic diseases, body weight reduction and maintain the ideal bodyweight may reduce the frequency of asthmatic attack and it will be easier to control the asthma.
- Can asthma be cured? What are the latest treatment? Javeed Akhter.www.scientificamerican.com
|26 October 2016
|Dr. Norita bt. Shamsudin
|Dr. Norhaya bt. Mohd Razali