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What is asthma and what are the most common causes of asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways in the lungs. There are two types of asthma –airway constriction & inflammation.  Airway constriction may make you feel a tightening in your chest. The muscles around the airways of your lungs squeeze together or tighten. Inflammation can reduce the amount of air that you can take in or breathe out. They become more swollen and irritated when your asthma symptoms worsen. In some cases, too much thick mucus is produced, which further obstructs the airways.

Is asthma preventable? Is there a cure?

Asthma can be preventable if the cause is environmental exposures and the worsening of symptoms can also be preventable. Unfortunately most asthma never goes away but the right treatment can help keep it under control.

Is there more than one type of asthma?

There are several types of asthma: allergic, nonallergic, exercise, cough variant, and pregnancy related. The type of asthma depends on the triggers or cause of the asthma and the symptoms that each individual experiences. Triggers can include tobacco smoke, dust mites, pets, mold, strong odors, pollen, exercise, cold weather, and colds and other infections.

What are some symptoms of asthma?

There are several symptoms of asthma. Wheezing produces a whistling sound usually heard when breathing out. A cough or hack that may not go away and often occurs or worsens at night or with exercise. Chest tightness is described as feeling as if a rope is being pulled tighter and tighter around your chest. Shortness of breath, often described as feeling as though you’re trying to breathe through a straw and can’t catch your breath at all. With asthma, breathing out is especially tough.

Are there any natural treatments for asthma?

Avoiding your known triggers can help you to reduce the amount of medication that you may need.

Can stress trigger an asthma attack?

Stress is a common asthma trigger. When you have stress and asthma, you might feel short of breath, anxious, and even panicked. Stress may cause your asthma symptoms to worsen and cause you to feel frightened. As the wheezing and coughing gets worse, your health becomes one more reason to worry. Asthma, stress, and anxiety make for a vicious circle, and one that can spiral downward quickly.

Do Allergies Have Any Effect On Asthma Symptoms?

Yes, allergies can make asthma worse especially if you have allergy induced asthma. Allergic asthma is triggered by an allergic reaction to allergens such as pollen or pet dander. You may find that your asthma is worse in the spring when there is an increase in flowering plants, while others find their asthma is worse in the late summer or early fall due to ragweed or mold from leaves on trees.  These triggers can cause airway constriction, inflammation, and mucous production to become worse. Typical allergies cannot develop into asthma.

Are there any foods that can trigger asthma that should be avoided?

Any foods that you feel make your symptoms increase should be avoided or at least enjoyed in smaller amounts or less frequently. Some common culprits are beer, wine, shrimp, and dried fruits. Some medicines, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, cold medicines, nonsteroidal pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen), and even eye drops can also trigger asthma symptoms.

More about Asthma and exercise is here.

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