Asthma is a long-term disease of the respiratory tract that is characterized by narrowing and inflammation of the airways. That places the tightness and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms of asthma are chest pain, coughing, and wheezing.
Airways of asthmatics tend to be more sensitive than those who do not have it. That is why when the lungs of asthmatics irritated one of the triggers, the respiratory muscles will stiffen and also narrows the airways. Some triggers include tobacco smoke, exposure to chemicals, animal dander, or even cold air.
WHO estimates that about 235 million world population is asthmatic. According to data from the Health Data Research Department of Health Indonesia, 2013, asthmatics in Indonesia is 4.5 percent of the overall population. The prevalence of asthma was highest in Central Sulawesi as much as 7.8 percent followed by 7.3 percent of East Nusa Tenggara, Yogyakarta 6.9 percent, 6.7 percent and South Sulawesi.
Asthma can strike anyone and can not be cured. However, proper treatment can control the attack and the patient can enjoy the quality of life.
If you suffer from asthma since childhood, the symptoms may disappear as a teenager and reappear in adulthood. However, the symptoms of asthma with medium and heavy duty categories in childhood will tend to remain there. Asthma can occur at any age, do not always start from childhood.
Asthma is a chronic disease. If not done properly, the treatment has effects on quality of life, among other things:
- Psychological problems such as debris
- Growth disorders in children
- Refractory asthma, severe asthma condition despite the maximal therapeutic use
- respiratory failure
- Lung damage
To confirm the diagnosis of asthma, the doctor will perform a series of checks. Starting from patient interviews by asking questions about your symptoms, such as when the symptoms appear with frequency if shortness of breath accompanied by chest pain, as well as family health history.
If the information obtained leads to asthma, the doctor will then perform a physical examination and laboratory tests. Here is a test which is generally performed in the doctor’s diagnosis of asthma:
Patients will be asked to draw a deep breath and let it out as quickly as possible into the appliance spirometer. This test is intended to measure the performance of the lung based on the volume of air that can be exhaled in one-second patient and the total amount of air exhaled.
To determine the condition of the respiratory tract, the data obtained will be compared with measurements of the average healthy people the same age as you. The doctor may perform this test twice; before using the inhaler and after using the inhaler. If the test results after using the inhaler are better, then the patient is likely to suffer from asthma.
Peak expiratory flow test levels
This test is done with the aim of measuring the level of a puff of air. The doctor will ask you exhale as quickly as possible into the tool peak flow meter (PFM). The result will be shown to how fast you can let out the air from the lungs in one breath.
Doctors may advise patients to buy PFM for home use. Then you will be asked to do the test every day and record the results and when the test was done. It will provide accurate data to know when asthma worsens.
Other Asthma Test
In addition to the above two tests, the following tests may be needed to diagnose asthma or assist in detecting other diseases. The test in question is:
Tests airway response
Inspection is done to know the reaction of the airways when exposed to asthma triggers one. You will be asked to breathe in dry powder (mannitol) whose numbers increased as the test progresses. Then you will exhale into the spirometer to see how high the rate of change in FEV1 and FVC after exposure to a trigger. If plummeted, then most likely the patient has asthma.
The doctor will perform an allergy test to find out if your asthma symptoms occur because of allergy to something.
If the doctor suspects that shortness of breath is not as symptoms of asthma, but a lung infection or abnormalities of the nasal cavity, the CT scan will be performed.
Most people with asthma must have felt difficulty breathing. Patients with severe conditions likely to experience even more often. The main symptoms of asthma include wheezing (sound produced when the air through the narrowed airways), chest felt like there were the choke, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Indeed, these symptoms can be caused by many things, but certainly as asthma if:
- Frequent relapses
- Symptoms feels heavier in the middle of the night and early morning
- Seems to happen in response to asthma triggers-such as excessive physical activity or exposure to allergens (such as animal dander)
Worsening asthma symptoms in a short time are known as an asthma attack. It can occur suddenly or gradually over several days. The symptoms of asthma attacks, among others:
- Wheezing, coughing, and chest felt like a squeezed felt more and more severe and frequent
- Activities eat, talk, and sleep disturbed by breathing difficulties
- Heart beat
- Drowsiness, experiencing confusion, fatigue, or dizziness
- Fingers or lips turn blue
If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, when an asthma attack is a reliever inhaler will not help and respiration peak flow test results seen to decrease drastically. See your doctor to get further treatment.
Treatment of asthma has two objectives, namely to relieve symptoms and prevent recurrence of symptoms. Of course, the treatment must be adapted to the results of the doctor’s diagnosis and condition of the patient.
The main treatment of asthma include:
Avoiding triggers symptoms
Using a reliever inhaler -used to relieve asthma symptoms short term by making the airways relax
The use -used preventer inhaler regularly every day to reduce inflammation of the airways and prevent asthma symptoms recur
The use of combination inhalers preventer and reliever -used every day in order to prevent the onset of asthma symptoms and make the airways to relax in a longer period of time
Asthma Treatment Plan
The doctor will guide you to create individualized asthma management journal. Inside there is information about medicines consumed, how to monitor the condition and what to do in case of an asthma attack. Preferably, the treatment plan is reviewed at least once a year. If your asthma symptoms worsen, the review should be done more frequently.
One information you should note in the journal are the results of the examination peak flow meter. So, you would be well advised to buy it. Thus, you can monitor the condition of asthma that can predict an asthma attack and take the necessary countermeasures.
Asthma medications recommended
In addition to handling the inhaler, medication is sometimes also needed in the treatment plan, for example:
Tablet theophylline. Generally, asthma patients are given medication to help dilate the airways to relax the muscles around it. The side effects of this drug include nausea, headache, vomiting, and stomach disorders.
Tablet leukotriene receptor antagonist (montelukast). Drugs consumed once a day to prevent inflammation in the respiratory tract. This drug is used to prevent asthma symptoms. Side effects include stomach upset or a headache.
If your asthma is still not under control, the doctor may recommend taking steroid tablets. These drugs can relieve inflammation that occurs in the respiratory tract.
Lung specialist doctor will monitor the use of these drugs because if consumed in the long term side effects on bone loss, hypertension, diabetes, muscle weakness, skin thinning, and increased appetite. More serious side effects are cataracts or glaucoma.
Typically doctors will only provide medication for a short period as an additional medication to handle other infections. Afterward, the patient will return to the previous treatment plan.
Although asthma can not be cured, but sufferers can live a quality of life if you do the following:
- Recognizing and avoiding asthma triggers
- Recognize an asthma attack and appropriate treatment measures
- Using a medicine given by doctors on a regular basis
- Note the condition of your airways
If you use your reliever inhaler more frequently, consult your doctor. It could be your treatment plan require adjustments to the conditions.
Asthma unknown causes. People with asthma have airways swollen and sensitive. When exposed to a trigger factor for asthma, respiratory tract more easily narrowed and clogged mucus.
Here are some things that can trigger asthma symptoms:
- Infections, particularly those associated with upper respiratory tract such as the flu
- Cigarette smoke, air pollution
- Drugs such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Excessive emotions, such as laughing
- Food allergies, such as allergic to nuts
- Weather, including temperature changes, cold, damp
- Conditions in the room humid or dusty
- Once the trigger is already known, try to avoid in order to control asthma symptoms.
- Risk factors
Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown. However, there are some things that can increase your risk for the disease, including the following:
- Have a family history of asthma or atopic disease such as eczema
- Having atopic conditions
- suffering from bronchitis
- Exposure to tobacco smoke in childhood
- Maternal smoking during pregnancy patient
- Born as a premature or low birth weight