Asthma is a disease in the lungs that causes your airways to get inflamed. When your airways get inflamed, it is hard to breathe. Asthma makes it difficult to do activities or even live a normal life if it is not controlled.
According to the World Health Organization, about 339 million people have asthma. While most of the deaths occur in older adults, it is a common noncommunicable disease among children. It is under-treated and under-diagnosed, which means it creates a burden to families and the people affected by asthma. Every year, two million people visit the emergency room because of asthma.
Living with asthma is difficult, as anyone with asthma will tell you. The key to controlling asthma is talking with your doctor and taking the medications the doctor prescribes you, such as a mesh nebulizer. Avoid asthma triggers if possible; however, these may take a while to figure out.
Asthma and Genetics
While we are still learning a lot when it comes to asthma and genetics, scientists have learned that genetics do play a part in developing asthma. If someone in your family has asthma, there is a higher chance you can develop asthma.
The genes you are born with determine whether or not you get asthma as a child. However, even if you have a predisposition, it doesn’t mean you will develop asthma for sure. There are environmental factors that play a part in developing asthma as well.
Risk Factors for Asthma
There are certain risk factors that make it more possible you will develop asthma at some point during your life. Some of these risk factors include:
- Exposure to chemical fumes, gasses, or air pollution
- Exposure to cigarette smoke or smoking
- Premature birth
- Eczema or hay fever
- Autoimmune diseases
- Family history of allergies
- Personal history of allergies
- Hormonal changes in women during menopause
If you have allergic rhinitis, eczema, allergic conjunctivitis, then you may be more susceptible to getting asthma. Furthermore, some people have an increased sensitivity to allergens, which includes those found in the air and in food. If you have an increased sensitivity, be on the lookout for asthma symptoms so you can catch it early.
Boys tend to get asthma more than girls during childhood. While scientists are still unsure why this happens, they think it is because the boys’ airway is smaller. Since the airway is smaller, there is more of a chance of wheezing during a viral infection or cold.
As women get older, more females will experience adult asthma than males, which happens at age 40. If you are a female over the age of 40 with a risk factor listed above, keep an eye on your health and watch for signs of asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma
Now that you know the risk factors for asthma, it is important to know the symptoms of asthma. Since asthma is inflammation of the bronchial tubes in your lungs, people experience their airways tighten or fill with mucus.
Common signs of asthma include:
- Chest pressure, pain, or tightness
- Shortness of breath
Every person is different, so you may not have all the symptoms or experience the symptoms differently than someone else with asthma. Furthermore, asthma symptoms can vary from one asthma attack to the next. If you have a less severe attack one day, you might have a more severe attack another day.
A viral infection, such as a cold, can increase asthma symptoms. The symptoms usually get better once the infection is gone, but it is uncomfortable while you have the virus and experience asthma symptoms. If you have a viral infection and asthma symptoms, it is important to keep a portable mesh nebulizer on hand in case of emergencies.
Did you know certain things can trigger asthma to make the symptoms worse or trigger an asthma attack? Some of the most common asthma triggers include:
- Beta-blocker medications
- Food additives
- Dust mites
- Chemical odors
- Pet dander
- Weather changes
- Air pollution
- Seasonal allergies
Reducing the Risk of Asthma
You may be wondering how to lower your risk of developing asthma or at least lessen your asthma symptoms. If you do smoke, now is a good time to quit. Stay away from others who smoke as well because this will make your symptoms worse, even after you quit smoking.
If you have a job that exposes you to airborne chemicals and fumes, be sure to wear the appropriate equipment and protect your airways. Wear a mask to filter the air and work in the open if possible.
Control your stress. This is a hard one for most people, but it is important. We have stress in almost every aspect of our lives. If you can lessen the stress in one or two areas, it can help reduce the risk of asthma or even lessen your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about positive ways to reduce stress.
Keep your home clean by vacuuming and dusting often. Dust and pet dander collects on the floors, which can trigger asthma symptoms and attacks. By regularly cleaning, you get rid of the dust and dander, which makes it less likely to flare up your asthma.
Allergies and asthma are closely related, which means people who have allergies may have increased asthma symptoms. If you have allergies, talk to your doctor about how to reduce them and help keep your asthma under control. Try to stay away from common allergy triggers.
Asthma and Genetics
If your parents have asthma you are more likely to develop it. While genetics does play a part, there are environmental factors that come into play as well. The good thing is you have access to medication that can lessen symptoms and stop asthma attacks. Check out mesh nebulizers to help keep your symptoms under control.