Types of Diseases

Asthma

Asthma

There are many levels of Asthma. This disease is among the top 5 diseases in Malaysia and could be mild to extreme in every case. Asthma is a type of breathing disorder which if not treated well could cause suffocation and in some cases, even death. It happens when where the airways to lungs swell up or becomes too narrow. The airways to the lungs must be kept at the best condition and cleared at all times so that air could efficiently flow in when breathing.

If such a condition happens, it could lead to wheezing and shortness of breath. This will then lead to chest tightness and coughing and eventually could cause other problems like nausea, headache and even a black-out. Today, more and more people are suffering from asthma, particularly children who are be actively involved in sports which could be largely due to rapid development in the cities and the pollution of air.

Prevalence
The inflammation of the airways happen when the muscles surrounding it become tight and swelling happens on the passages’ lining. When this happen, naturally the amount of air allowed to pass by the airways become very limited as the space is being reduced. This health problem could be hereditary which must be detected early. However, the air condition is one of the main contributors to this problem. Another common reason people get asthma is due to allergens or triggers where they breathe in substances that cause asthma. This could be dust, pet hair or dander from animals like dogs or cats, certain substances in the air and even changes in weather when there is unseen pollen or micro-bacteria. Other known sources that could trigger asthma are cigarette or tobacco smoke and even extreme stress.

Asthma attacks could last for a few minutes or could even go on for days and if not treated as soon as possible, it could be fatal as the airflow becomes more and more restricted over time. Therefore it is very common to see people with asthma to carry with them an inhaler or sometimes refer to as the ‘puff’ so that they can use them whenever needed. The use of this puff is to immediately clear off the airways to allow air to channel straight into the lungs. Asthma is a major problem among Malaysians today because a lot of people do not know they have this health condition which means that they cannot exercise too much and they must constantly be under medication.

Prevention
Asthma is a common disease among men and women and can happen to anyone from any age group. While there are many cases where asthma was found to be hereditary, it has been found that external factors like air pollution and other elements could be the cause of this disease. As such, the best way to prevent Asthma is to identify the triggers and try to avoid them. If you live in an environment with a lot of second-hand cigarette smoke or in the industrial area, then you must try to avoid such places. If there is preventive medicine or counter measures like facial masks, they should be practiced accordingly.

Diagnostics
Asthma happens when the lungs fail to efficiently carry out its tasks. As such, the doctor will usually carry out a physical test and check on the symptoms that the patient experiences to ascertain if it is asthma. Lung functions will be tested and measured to identify its efficiency and this includes the likes of spirometry in which the narrowing of the bronchial tubes are estimated. Another common diagnostic test include using a peak flow meter in which it measures how hard a person is able to breathe out and if the readings are low, it shows that the lungs are not entirely working well and immediate medical treatment would be needed to avoid further complications.

Statistics
Based on recorded information, patients with asthma have reached the millions in most continents. In 2011, Malaysia recorded almost 1,000 deaths that were caused by Asthma which is 0.79% of the total deaths recorded that year. However, there are still a lot of unreported cases of Asthma as many do not take this disease serious enough to seek medication help or treatment which in the long term could develop into a fatal disease.

Discuss about Malaysia Asthma in Asthma disease Section

Specialists
If you have asthma, you need to be checked and determined of your condition first by your family physician. From there, you could be referred to either taking medication or be diagnosed by a specialist. Where necessary, you would need to see someone who knows the respiratory system very well. An Allergist is a person who knows about immunology and allergic properties. Meanwhile, you might need to see a doctor who specializes in internal medicine known as an Internist. For children, a pediatrician usually has the qualifications to treat a child with asthma while you might need to consult a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapist who helps you in curbing this condition.

Symptoms
A person with asthma is one who will face problems with breathing under normal conditions. This could be caused by an allergy to a certain element in the air or the surroundings. As such, it is very common that you could experience shortness of breath or constant wheezing which are early signs of this condition. If you are coughing a lot, particularly during the nighttime and some chest tightness occasionally, then you should have this checked as well.

Medication
If you have a long-term asthma problem, then you would need to take prescription drugs to control your situation. This includes taking medicines like bronchodilator, which is a long-acting beta-agonist drug that helps to clear the airways of your respiratory system. Leukotriene modifiers are taken to help reduce inflammation while you could take mast cell stabilizers and Theophylline.

If needed, you might have to take an injection called an immunomodulator while there are Short-acting beta-agonists and Anticholinergics which are short-term relief medications. Inhalers and nebulizers are common medication used for asthmas as well.

Home remedies
You could have an asthma problem which can be reduced at home by using garlic. It has been found that garlic helps to reduce inflammation in the airways and can be taken with pomegranate juice and honey while it can taken with salt. Mustard oil can be used to massage the respiratory passages during an asthma attack. You could clean 3 dried figs and then soaking them overnight before drinking the water. Coffee meanwhile is known to help with asthma where the caffeine can act as a bronchodilator but you must take strong coffee or you can use pure eucalyptus oil which can be applied on a towel and placed over the head.

How to Prepare for an Asthma Attack
If you have an asthma condition, you will be sure to have it under control in one way or another. If you have this condition for a long time, you will more or less be aware of when an attack is about to happen and take all the precautionary steps possible to avoid complications when this occurs.

However, despite having your condition under control, an asthma attack can still be sudden and while you might know what to do and have everything within reach, there are still preparations that need to be undertaken.

First, know why an attack is likely. This is where you should make a note of when you will most likely suffer an asthma attack. In most cases, it could be due to some form of allergy like smoke and cat fur but there are situations when it could be a certain time of the year when the weather is more humid or seasonal allergies that might trigger your asthma. If an attack usually happens at those times, then you must communicate to those around you like your co-workers, friends and families.

Medications – Ensure that you always have your asthma medication nearby. Your albuterol inhaler is perhaps the most important drug you should have with you all the time, even if you have not suffered any attack for a long period of time. The point is to have your inhaler at hand during emergencies. Where possible, you should have inhalers in various locations. At work, in school, in your car, in a few places at home and even with your co-worker if necessary. Other medication like steroid tablets should be kept close by as well so that it can be taken when asthma attacks.

Phone Numbers – All the important phone numbers should be available when needed. This includes your doctor’s clinic, medical centres nearby and the people to contact like your spouse or parents. This should be in a card and kept with you always.

Have a plan – Always prepare a checklist of things and have an asthma attack plan when it occurs. Take your time to work out what is best and then inform those around you about it.

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References
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/signs
http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-medications