Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which...
Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which the airways that carry air to and from the lungs become blocked or narrowed causing difficulty in breathing. Asthma is a chronic condition and people who suffer from asthma (long-lasting or recurrent) are said to be asthmatic. The inside walls of an asthmatic's airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
There are two types of asthma: non-allergic (intrinsic) and allergic (extrinsic or atopic) asthma according to causative factors.
Intrinsic asthma is triggered by factors not related to allergies. These factors include: anxiety, stress, exercise, cold air, dry air, too much air (hyperventilation), smoke and irritants found in aerosols like insecticides and perfumes.
Extrinsic asthma is due to an allergy to antigens.
What is an antigen?
An antigen is substance, frequently a protein, which can stimulate an animal organism to produce antibodies and that can combine specifically with the antibodies thus produced.
An antigen is any substance capable of inducing specific immune response and reacting with the products of that response. Antigens are foreign substances and the body has been designed to produce a system that fights against them anytime they are introduced into the body of any human. Examples of antigens are: toxins, foreign proteins, bacteria, tissue cells and any external substance.
When the antibodies in the body react with the antigens, the antigen-antibody complex forms and this simple antigen-antibody reaction leads to allergic response in asthmatics.
Some allergens (triggers) that cause asthma include:
Indoor triggers: smoke, dust mites, pet and animal hair, cockroach droppings, pollen.
Food allergens: eggs, cow milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shrimp, canned food.
Conditions: Respiratory infection, Stress, Strong Emotion and Exercise.
However, allergies may vary in asthmatics, hence all allergens do not apply to all asthmatics.
The allergies cause inflammation that make the airway become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs.
Symptoms of the asthma attack/episode include: wheezing, chest tightness, breathing problems and coughing.
Asthmatics usually experience these symptoms most frequently during the night and the early morning. An asthma episode or attack is when symptoms become worse than the normal level.
What happens during an asthma attack?
-The muscles around the airways tighten up and this causes the narrowing of the airway.
-Less air is allowed to flow through the airway.
-Mucus secretion in airways which makes it hard to breath
-The airways become narrower and airflow is reduced the more.