A day to fit in someone’s shoes: Understanding Asthma.

Have you ever shared a room with someone who has Asthma? So many rules and restrictions, right? And so frustrating for others. I know so because I have witnessed how angry people get when you tell them you are hypersensitive to perfume. Sometimes thy don’t even listen to you and do their thing and the end result is someone getting rushed to the clinic or hospital for medical attention.

But, let’s pause and think; if you who is not asthmatic but, is affected by it feels frustrated because perhaps you can’t spray perfume or do whatever else you want as it is detrimental to your roommate’ health, imagine how frustrated this particular person must be because they are both affected and infected by the condition; Knowing they can never do that and more because their lifelong condition cannot allow it. That’s right, it’s practically not easy to cope so, it would be humane if you became understanding by avoiding activities that may trigger your friend, relative, sibling, parent or roommate to have an attack, after all, the chronic disease is not voluntary-its hereditary, seasonal or occupational. Moreover, we could try something else, something more than just understanding. That’s right, you can even be more caring by conjoining understanding with acquiring more knowledge on Asthma so that you can help asthmatic friends and family members, cope with and control the symptoms.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To those who wish to go a mile further for the love of their friends and family or colleagues and roommates, today, we will discussing on Asthma; and if not for others, do it yourself. You could be having symptoms but, are unware of the problem so, I hope you will follow it up to the end as we start with what Asthma is.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is one of the most widespread chronic diseases of
childhood, affecting over 6 million children in the world. However, it can manifest in adulthood but, it can also be triggered by occupational and environmental factors.

Asthma is a long-term condition affecting the airways through inflammation and narrowing inside the lungs, resulting into restriction of air supply as it causes repeated episodes of coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulty. These can be seen during an acute asthma episode whereas the airway lining in the lungs becomes inflamed and swollen.

Furthermore, mucus
production occurs in the airway and muscles surrounding
the airway spasm. These symptoms combined cause a reduction in
flow of air in an individual’s body.

This is to say that, during an asthma attack, swelling of the airways prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs inhibiting it from also entering the bloodstream and reaching other vital organs like the heart.

An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms become severe. However, these attacks can begin suddenly and range from mild to life threatening

Therefore, people who experience severe symptoms need urgent medical attention.

Characteristics of Asthma explained

Asthma is characterized by the following:
• Airway inflammation

This is where the airway lining of the lungs becomes
red, swollen, and narrow.

• Airway obstruction

This involves the tightening of the muscles encircling the
airway causing the airway to narrow and make it difficult for a patient to inhale and exhale air in the lungs.

• Airway hyper-responsiveness

In this case, the muscles encircling the airway respond more quickly and vigorously to small amounts of allergens and

In other words, an individual with asthma may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chest tightness
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • wheezing
  • breathlessness
  • coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Increased pulse rate
  • increased mucus production
  • And increased respiratory rate.

Types of Asthma

There are different kinds of Asthma and these can occur in many different ways and for many different reasons. The following are the types of Asthma that medical Research has unveiled:

Childhood Asthma

Like I mentioned before Asthma is mostly common in children despite being capable of developing at any age.

The following are the common triggers of childhood Asthma according to the American Lung Association:

  • Respiratory infections and colds
  • Exercises
  • Allergens
  • Cigarette smoke, inclusive of secondhand tobacco smoke
  • air pollutants in and outdoors
  • Exposure to cold air
  • Excitement
  • Sudden changes in temperatures

Therefore, in a case where your child starts experiencing Asthma, it is important to seek medical attention as it can be life threatening. Pulmonologists or Respiratory therapists or general doctors can advise on some of the best ways to manage the condition but, that’s not all. There is a tiny bit of good news in that fortunately for others, asthma disappears in adulthood but, for many, it is a lifelong condition

Adult-onset asthma

Research also shows that Asthma can develop adulthood and some factors that contribute to the risk of developing asthma in adulthood include:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Allergies and exposure to allergens
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal factors
  • Respiratory illnesses

Occupational asthma

This type of Asthma occurs due to exposure to an allergen or irritant that is present in the workplace. Examples of such workplaces may include but not limited to bakeries, flour mills, kitchens, hospitals, pet shops, zoos, and laboratories and farms

These working environments can trigger a return of childhood asthma or the start of adult-onset asthma. Furthermore, people who smoke, have allergic Rhinitis, and a history of Asthma and allergies are at high risk of having Asthma

Seasonal Asthma

This type of asthma occurs in response to allergens that are only in the surrounding environment at certain times of year such as cold air in the Winter, pollen in Spring and Summer. These may trigger symptoms of seasonal asthma. Moreover, people with seasonal Asthma may still have the condition for the rest of the year without experiencing the symptoms.

Difficult-to-control and severe Asthma

Some people have severe symptoms for reasons that do not relate directly to asthma. For example, they may not yet have learned the correct way to use an inhaler while others have severe refractory asthma. This is where the asthma does not respond to treatment; even in high dosages of medication or the correct use of inhalers.

Eosinophilic asthma is also another type of asthma which in severe cases, may not respond to the usual medications although some people with eosinophilic asthma manage with standard asthma medications while others may utilize  specific biologic therapies. 

Attack triggers

  • Exercise
  • Irritants such as air pollutants, paints, cleaning agents and tobacco smoke
  • Strong odors and fragrances such as perfumes, lotions flower scents, sweat etc
  • Change of temperature, weather and exposure to cold air
  • Reaction to environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, animal dander and dust
  • And colds and viral respiratory infections.

Asthma medication

There are two categories of Asthma medication. These are long-term control medicines and quick relievers. Long-term control medications prevent symptoms of Asthma by
reducing inflammation. This means that they must be taken daily. However, they do not provide quick relief for a patient. On the other hand, Quick-relief medication provides relaxation to the airway muscles which in turn prompts relief of symptoms but, these medicines do not provide long-term asthma

And most importantly, it is vital to note that you as parents, caregivers or the patient themselves play an
important role in controlling
asthma. Therefore, it is important to engage in the following action plan to ensure the safety of your life if you have Asthma or the person you are taking care of
1. Take daily actions to control
asthma and monitor symptoms.

2. Understanding and avoiding
environmental exposures that worsen asthma, such as pollen, mold, animal dander and tobacco smoke.

However, please note that not everyone has the same asthma
symptoms but, it is important to know the above factors in order to monitor asthma and know when to seek medical attention and help.

Additionally, asthmatic people are hypersensitive to almost anything. Therefore, you must listen to them when they ask you not to spray perfume in the room or if they say you can’t hug them because you are all sweaty or are wearing perfumes. They are not being rude to you, they are just safeguarding their lives. Imagine if a friend of your got an asthma attack because of you. That’s a alot of guilt to deal with so let’s be caring by being a friend’s keeper and save lives; Asthma is real and it can be life threatening.

With that being said, I hope you stuck me till the end and I obviously did not touch all the topics about Asthma but, not to worry because you can get the best detailed explanations about this condition from your local hospitals. Let’s also keep the awareness alive by sharing; so, tell your friends to tell their friends who will tell their friends and the chain will continue.

Thank you for your readership and have a lovely week ahead♥️


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