Asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease that causes discomfort in the airways of the lungs by blocking the passageway. This condition is chronic and is caused due to air pollution and a number of allergies among other common factors. It is estimated that more than 350 million people globally suffer from many asthma symptoms with some cases that also result in fatalities.
Asthma can be identified by people who have recurrent symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing in some patients. However, before you can understand the various symptoms, understanding the causes and the factors that can aggravate the inherent condition is important.
Causes of asthma:
Causes can be classified into three primary categories, namely environmental, genetic, and asthma caused due to medical conditions.
Environmental causes of asthma:
- Allergens, air pollution, and other chemicals present in the environment can all be the silent triggers of this chronic condition.
- Low air quality in urban and industrial areas is the reason why many healthy people develop an asthma symptom through no fault of their own.
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has estimated rising number of asthma patients in low-income communities who rely on public transport for their daily commute, thus exposing themselves to poor air quality on a day-to-day basis.
- At times, people are also at fault since the needed precautions to be taken to avoid developing a chronic asthma symptom is not followed diligently despite the government’s best efforts to educate the masses.
- An asthma symptom can also be caused due to exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites, cockroaches, dander from animals, and even mold, these pollutants get mixed in the clean air thus causing associated asthma symptoms.
Genetic causes of asthma
- Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants are not the only reasons why you can develop asthma symptoms.
- Changes in your gene pool passed down from previous generations can also cause people to develop and start showing symptoms at any given stage.
- Genes which are related and relevant to the immune system are also the culprits who are responsible for modulating inflammation, causing the airway to get blocked.
- There are also certain endotoxin triggers present in the environment which, when combined with genetic triggers, can aggravate the developing symptoms.
- These endotoxins are broadly classified into CC genotype and TT genotype, with both having distinct levels of exposure.
- There is a low risk for high exposure if the endotoxin levels are belonging to the CC genotype, but there is high risk for high exposure for the TT genotype.
Medical conditions that can cause asthma symptoms
- Atopic diseases happen to be the number one risk factor associated with asthma and developing symptoms.
- Atopy is a condition which leads to hypersensitivity and allergic reactions with a combination of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.
- Obesity is also a factor which can be associated with medical triggers that can lead to a developing asthma symptom.
Diagnosis of asthma
- The pattern of asthma symptoms and certain visual indicators are the only way to diagnose a developing asthma condition.
- Although the causes of asthma can be identified and effectively curbed before the symptoms start to show up, it is still not possible to determine the exact diagnosis for effective treatment.
Symptoms of asthma and how to identify them
- Asthma symptoms can be classified into how severe the symptoms are, the frequency of recurrent symptoms, and whether the symptoms are more dominant during night time or the day.
- Intermittent symptoms develop and occur more than two times a week and can happen more than twice a month at night time.
- Mild persistent symptoms show up less than a couple of times in any given week; however, the chances of asthma symptoms to persistently show up at night increase during this time frame.
- Moderate persistent symptoms can occur daily. However, there is some relief at night time since the symptoms are not so dominant with just a single occurrence every week.
- Severe persistent symptoms are the ones which occur continuously and frequently, almost every day regardless of whether it is during the day or at night.
Common asthma symptoms
- A cough is a very common symptom and does not necessarily indicate that a person might be in the beginning stages of developing asthmatic problems.
- However, chronic cough is a clear indicator that the condition has been induced due to both internal and external allergens, which then is a clear cause for concern.
- A dry cough with phlegm might be a persistent symptom until the severity of the condition can be diagnosed, and a recommended course of treatment can be prescribed for the same.
Asthma affects the airway passage going to your lungs, which leads to a number of respiratory problems like difficulty in breathing, wheezing, respiratory infections, and shortness of breath being one of the night symptoms.