Asthma is a chronic bronchial disease, characterized by asthma attacks (respiratory discomfort) that indicate a sudden contraction of the muscles controlling the opening and closing of the bronchi. It is a noncommunicable disease, it is the most common chronic disease in children.
Asthma is a disease that kills dozens of people every day in the world. As a result, the disease must be taken very seriously by both the patient and the medical team.
The causes or rather the triggers (in particular the asthma attack) can be an allergy, pollution like substances and particles inhaled or certain climatic conditions like the cold (read below under Causes). Heredity plays a key role in the onset of asthma, and children with asthma are more likely to suffer from asthma.
The main symptoms are respiratory discomfort (dyspnea), tightness in the chest, coughing or wheezing during exhalation.
The main complications of asthma are asphyxia and therefore a possible death if there is no adequate treatment.
The treatment of asthma is mainly based on two types of drugs: bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories (cortisone).
It should be noted that the treatment varies according to the type of asthma and especially the intensity of the disease. For severe cases the therapy is of course heavier. The patient should take his medication every day to prevent any asthma attack. Recently, new treatments have been put on the market to cure severe or allergic-type asthma.
Aside from taking medication to prevent or treat asthma adequately and regularly, the main tips for asthma therapy and prevention are: Avoiding smoking and always limiting triggers. For example if you are allergic to cat hair, you should avoid going to a house with cats for example. Physicians are increasingly recommending regular exercise to prevent asthma attacks. Be careful, however, in case of severe asthma, always ask your doctor before starting the practice of sport.
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the bronchi. This condition is characterized by dyspnoea attacks or asthma attacks (breathing discomfort) whistling, indicating a sudden contraction of the muscles controlling the opening and closing of the bronchi, Associate edema and hypersecretion of the mucous membranes of the airways.
During asthma attacks, there is a narrowing of the caliber of the airways in the lungs.
Cough and viscous sputum are also common .
There are different forms of asthma: allergic asthma (the most frequent form) with allergies to pollen or food, non-allergic asthma (pollution), exercise or sports-related asthma, Cold asthma or asthma medications (“aspirin” asthma).
It is important, when suspected of breathing difficulties, to consult a doctor, without being alarming, it should be remembered that asthma kills even in the industrialized countries and should not be taken lightly. Many people are unfortunately not aware that they suffer from asthma.
It is estimated that 2-5% of adults and 10% of children suffer from asthma.
– In France, an estimated 4 million people suffer from asthma. Other sources speak of 5 to 6 million French (8 to 10% of the population) suffering from asthma.
– In the United States, some 25 million people suffer from asthma. This disease costs about $ 3,300 per patient per year in medical treatment, missed work and school days, and premature death.
– According to 2010 Statistics Canada statistics , 8.5% of Canadians aged 12 years and older were diagnosed with asthma.
– Worldwide, approximately 235 million people suffer from asthma, according to WHO (WHO website accessed on 9 August 2016 ). It is the most common chronic disease in children.
The incidence of asthma is higher in high-income countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom than in middle- and low-income countries such as Russia, China or Indonesia.
In 20% of cases, asthma is severe.
Mortality of asthma
– In France, asthma kills several people a day. In 2006, there were 1,038 deaths due to asthma, almost 3 per day [Source: respir.com].
– In the United States it is estimated that asthma kills 5’000 people per year (a little more than 13 per day).
– In Brazil it is estimated that asthma kills 2’500 people per year (about 7 per day).
The majority of asthma-related deaths, in industrialized countries in any case, are linked to poor intake of asthma therapy (see under asthma for a better understanding of the concept of long-term treatment). People stop taking their preventive treatment daily and then a day comes a crisis and the disaster happens.
It should be noted that a significant proportion of asthma-related deaths occur in the elderly, especially older than 75 years.
Causes – Risk Factors for Asthma
It is not yet clear why some people will develop asthma and others will not, it is possible that this is a combination of genetic influence (hereditary factor) with external triggers as mentioned below.
The main triggers or causes of asthma are:
– allergens (eg pollen, mites).
– Chemical (toxic) or pollutant irritants, especially inhaled substances and particles, according to the WHO this would be the main risk factor for the development of asthma, cigarette smoke.
– The effort (running, sport), in particular with the cold.
– Emotional factors (including fear of making a crisis) and stress.
– Cooling and flu .
– Drugs (eg NSAIDs: acetylsalicylic acid), see the section on medications and asthma below.
– Cold air, we know that in winter the asthma attacks are more intense.
– According to a study published in late 2008, children born by caesarean section are more likely to have asthma than those born by vaginal route.
– According to a 2009 study, children who watch television a lot more likely to have asthma, it seems that physical inactivity and lack of physical exercise influence respiratory development, as well as pollution. Certain foods such as peanuts.
According to a study published on 20 August 2016 in the scientific journal BMC Pediatrics , children with food allergy have a higher risk of developing asthma. About 35% of children diagnosed with food allergy currently suffer or develop asthma, the risk increases even more when allergic to several foods. This rate of 35% is twice that in the general population (without food allergy). Read more
– Very humid weather (very high air humidity).
– Some perfumes or deodorants.
– Heartburn and especially gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may aggravate the symptoms of asthma.
– Preservatives such as sulfites.
– Allergy to domestic animals (cats, etc.).
– Many infectious respiratory diseases in childhood.
Knowing the triggering factor allows the patient to cope more easily by acting on prevention and taking his medications well.
Asthma and bacteria
According to Swiss researchers at the Vaud University Hospital Center (CHUV), microbes in the lungs protect against asthma, in any case according to an experiment carried out on mice. It is possible that the first few weeks after birth will already decide whether to have asthma or not, according to a study published in May 2014 in the journal Nature Medicine .
For a long time it was considered that the lung was a sterile and aseptic organ. It is only recently that it has been established that, like the intestine or the skin, our respiratory organ is colonized by bacteria. Researchers around Benjamin Marsland of the University Hospital Center of Vaud (CHUV) have now demonstrated by mouse trials that these lung microbes protect against allergic asthma.
Asthma and drugs, risks of asthma with drugs
Medications and asthma can be a dangerous association, especially for people at risk.
Drugs in the NSAID class (ibuprofen, diclofenac, acetylsalicylic acid) can trigger an asthma attack. These drugs can tighten the diameter of the bronchi leading to an asthma attack.
As a result, when headache it is best to take a paracetamol- based drug if you are asthmatic rather than an NSAID.
If you are taking beta-blockers, selective beta-blockers should be preferred (talk to your doctor). Non-selective beta-blockers can also tighten the bronchi and trigger a seizure, this is generally well known in the medical world.
It is also advisable to take good care of a cold (eg by washing) and cough for asthmatic patients, because it is important to liberate the airways in order to avoid serious consequences in a crisis asthma.
People at Risk
Children are twice as likely to have asthma than adults.
It is difficult to distinguish a group of people at risk, apart from allergic people.
According to a study published on 20 August 2016 in the scientific journal BMC Pediatrics , children with food allergy have a higher risk of developing asthma. About 35% of children diagnosed with food allergy currently suffer or develop asthma, the risk increases even more when allergic to several foods. This rate of 35% is twice that in the general population (without food allergy).