By Dr. Pavan Yadav, Lead Consultant – Interventional Pulmonology & Lung Transplantation, Aster RV Hospital
Bronchial asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to recurring episodes of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Causes bronchial asthma
The exact cause of bronchial asthma is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common triggers include allergens (pollen, dust mites, pet dander), respiratory infections, exercise, cold air, air pollutants, and certain medications.
A diagnosis of bronchial asthma is made based on a combination of clinical history, physical examination, and lung function tests. These may include spirometry, which measures lung function, and bronchoprovocation tests to assess airway hyper-responsiveness. Allergy testing may also be performed to identify specific triggers.
Common symptoms of bronchial asthma include wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing), coughing (especially at night or early morning), shortness of breath, and chest tightness. These symptoms may vary in intensity and frequency among individuals.
Bronchial asthma is a chronic condition that currently has no cure. However, with proper management and treatment, most people with asthma can lead normal, active lives with minimal symptoms. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms, prevent exacerbations, and improve quality of life.
The treatment of bronchial asthma involves a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications. Medications include short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators to relieve symptoms and reduce airway inflammation. Inhaled corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation in the airways. In severe cases, oral corticosteroids may be necessary. Avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are also important.
While bronchial asthma cannot be completely prevented, certain measures can help reduce the risk of developing asthma or prevent asthma attacks. These include avoiding exposure to allergens and irritants, practicing good respiratory hygiene, getting vaccinated against respiratory infections, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a balanced diet.
Bronchial asthma can occur at any age. It is more commonly diagnosed in childhood, but it can also develop in adulthood. In some cases, asthma symptoms may improve or disappear during adolescence, only to reappear later in life.
While bronchial asthma can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition during severe asthma attacks, most asthma cases are well-managed with appropriate treatment and do not pose a significant threat to life. It is crucial to work with healthcare professionals to develop an asthma action plan and promptly seek medical help during exacerbations.
Bronchial asthma and pregnancy
Yes, with proper management, most women with bronchial asthma can have a healthy pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women with asthma to work closely with their healthcare providers to adjust their medications and develop an asthma management plan that is safe for both the mother and the baby. Poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby