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World COPD Day - Know About Asthma
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World COPD Day - Know About Asthma

World COPD Day, an annual event to raise awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also serves as a critical juncture to discuss related respiratory conditions like asthma. Asthma, a common chronic respiratory disease, affects millions globally, significantly impacting their quality of life.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms are a result of the narrowing and inflammation of the airways in the lungs, often triggered by various environmental and genetic factors.

Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but it's believed to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Common triggers include:

  • Allergens (pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold)
  • Respiratory infections
  • Physical activity
  • Cold air or sudden temperature change
  • Air pollutants and irritants (smoke, chemical fumes)
  • Certain medications
  • Stress and strong emotions

Types of Asthma

  • Allergic Asthma: Triggered by airborne substances like pollen, mold spores, or pet dander.
  • Non-Allergic Asthma: Triggered by factors like stress, cold air, or exercise.
  • Occupational Asthma: Caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust, or other potentially harmful substances at work.
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB): Asthma symptoms triggered by physical activity.
  • Aspirin-Induced Asthma: Triggered by aspirin or other NSAIDs.

Diagnosis typically involves a review of medical history, physical examination, and lung function tests like spirometry. Additional tests may include allergy testing, bronchoprovocation testing (to measure airway sensitivity), and nitric oxide tests (to measure inflammation).

Treatment and Management
While there's no cure for asthma, effective management can control symptoms and minimize the impact on daily life. Treatment often includes:
Inhaled Corticosteroids: To reduce inflammation in the airways.
Long-Acting Beta Agonists (LABAs): Used alongside inhaled corticosteroids for long-term control.
Short-Acting Beta Agonists (SABAs): For quick relief of asthma symptoms.
Leukotriene Modifiers: To block the action of certain immune system chemicals.
Biologic Therapy: For severe asthma, targeting specific molecules within the immune system.
Lifestyle changes and avoiding triggers are crucial. Regular monitoring and an asthma action plan are recommended for managing the condition.

Impact on Daily Life
Asthma can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. Severe cases may limit physical activity, and asthma attacks can be frightening and potentially life-threatening. However, with proper treatment and management, most people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.

Asthma and Children
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. Childhood asthma might be overlooked as children often have difficulty describing their symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to manage the disease effectively and prevent long-term lung damage.

The Significance of World COPD Day
World COPD Day is an opportunity to spread awareness about respiratory diseases like asthma. It emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis, effective treatment, and global efforts in research and education to improve the lives of those with respiratory conditions.

Dr. Bandana Mishra, Head of the Department and Senior Consultant


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