Symptoms of an Asthma: How Can You Tell If You have Asthma?

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The word Asthma, in its original Greek form (ἅσθμα, or ásthma) (akin to aázein) means “panting” or “to breath hard”. Panting and heavy breathing are common visible symptoms of an individual who has Asthma. “Asthma is fairly common, and can be described as chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm” (NHLBI, 2007). The most common symptoms of this disease are coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, which are all visible as well as a feeling of tightness in the chest.

According to the World Health Organization (2011) “Some 235 million people currently suffer from asthma, and it is the most common chronic disease among children.” The
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As is the case with myself, some individuals may not have asthma that is set off by allergies. This is known as exercise-induced asthma and is generally easier to manage than traditional asthma.

As with allergies, chances are you can blame those in your family history for having asthma, as there is fairly a strong genetic component for most individuals with asthma. While we may not know what causes asthma, we do know how it works. Whenever you have an asthma attack, there are muscle spasms around the airways, inflammation and swelling of the mucosal membranes that line the airways, and copious amounts of mucus that are causing the airway narrowing. This causes increased resistance of air movement within the airways and as a result the work of breathing is more difficult, causing the shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing commonly associated with asthma. The coughing that is associated with asthma is caused by the irritation of the inside of the airway thanks to the excessive amounts of mucus and is the body’s attempt to clear out the accumulation of all this mucus.

Asthma can be treated with medications (but not cured). Medications prescribed often include long term treatments that control and/or prevent symptoms. These medications must be taken daily in a consistent manner to control and prevent asthma symptoms. They generally work by reducing the inflammation in the airway. One type of long term medications are inhaled
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