Can you develop asthma?

If you have symptoms like Coughing which gets worsens at night or in the early morning, wheezing, chest tightness, chest pressure, shortness of breath, and chest pain then there is an increase in suspect that we can develop asthma but confirmation must be done by laboratory diagnosis.

Can you develop asthma?

How do you know if you have asthma?

It is an airway disease characterized by the tightness of the airways producing mucous along a person’s airway.

It is the chronic inflammatory disorder of the airway that is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness, recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, cough particularly at night or in the early morning.

The episodes are variable but widespread obstruction occurs and they are reversible either spontaneously or with treatment.

Symptoms:

If we have the following symptoms then we can develop asthma.

  • Coughing which gets worsen at night or in the early morning.
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain

The symptoms can occur in varieties of the pattern. They include episodic, frequent episodic, and persistent type.

  1. Episodic:  In the episodic type, the attack of asthma will be occasional, well defined and it will last for an hour to days. There will be no symptoms between attacks.
  2. Frequent episodic: The frequency of an attack will be more frequent and the exacerbation will last longer usually for days to a week.
  3. Persistent: The patient will have symptoms continuously. There will be some symptoms even the patient is well.

Causes of asthma 

There is no known cause of  asthma but we develop asthma by some triggering factors such as :

Dust from home, pet fur

Pollen from plants

Exercise

Infection

Common cold such as bacterial

Diagnosis of asthma

The diagnosis is done based on the patient symptoms, medical history, and some lung function test are also useful to assess the severity and variability of the airway flow limitation and also confirms the diagnosis of asthma.

A.Medical history:

  • If the patient comes to the physician with the common clinical features of asthma than there is an increase suspect that that patient may have asthma.
  • Similarly, if the patient in addition to clinical features of asthma gives a history of Atopy or allergy.
  • For example, the patient gives a history of hay fever, family history of allergy,  also if the patient mentions triggering factors such as exercise, cold weather, certain drugs, certain chemical, dust, animal fur, pollen, etc. then there is a high probability that the patient has asthma.

B.Lung function test:

The common lung function test that suggests that we can develop asthma are:

a.Spirometry:

  • It is the method that detects the airway limitation and also to detect the reversibility of this limitation.
  • With spirometry, we can measure FEV1 (Forced expiratory volume in one second) which means the volume of air that has been forcefully exhaled in the first second.
  • If there is a more than 12% increase in FEV1 or if there is more than 200 ml increase in FEV1 after administration of some bronchodilators than that will indicate that the patient has an airflow limitation that is reversibility test positive by spirometry And this finding s will be inconsistent with asthma.
  • One thing that you have to remember is that even the asthma patient will not always show reversibility positive so the repeated test is required for confirmation.

b.Peak expiratory flow:

  • Measurement of peak expiratory flow with the help of peak flow meter.
  • Normally we compare the patient’s previous best peak flow with the findings that we get after the administration of bronchodilators.
  • If his peak expiratory flow increases more than 20% or increases more than 60litre/min after administration of bronchodilators compare to his previous best peak expiratory flow findings before the administration of bronchodilators than we will say that the reversibility test is positive.
  • Also, if there is more than 20% of durational variations of peak flow then it is also suggestive of asthma.

Additional tests

Methacholine  challenge

Exercise challenge test

Histamine challenge test to confirm the diagnoses

When it is difficult to diagnose asthma?

Asthma in children who are  less than 5 years old

Exercise-induced asthma

Occupational asthma

Cough variant asthma

Elderly patient when it is difficult to distinguish between asthma and COPD

Prevention of asthma

The best way to prevent is to avoid triggers such as dust, pollen, common colds, and exercise.

Following your doctor’s order which includes having an asthma action plan.

Staying well hydrated especially during exercise.

Treatment

Inhaled steroids: They reduce swelling along the lung airways making the passage wider and easier to breathe. For example Advair.

Bronchodilators: They open up the lung airway making it easy for air to flow, there are short-acting ones, for example, Albuterol is used in case of an emergency, and long-acting ones for the long term treatment.For example Symbicort.

Treatment effectiveness

Know how to use an inhaler well.

Talk to the doctor about an asthma action plan.

Have a test performed by your MD called peak flow meter.

Lifestyle changes

Avoid asthma triggers especially smoke.

Stay well hydrated especially before exercise.

Avoid getting an infection get the flu shot during flu season and practice good hand hygiene.

Stay free from allergens that cause asthma.

Avoid stress which triggers an asthma attack.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

what does asthma feel like

If you have asthma then you will have symptoms like Coughing which gets worsens at night or in the early morning, wheezing, chest tightness, chest pressure, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

how do you know if you have asthma?

If you have symptoms like Coughing which gets worsens at night or in the early morning, wheezing, chest tightness, chest pressure, shortness of breath, and chest pain then there is an increase in suspect that you may have asthma but confirmation must be done by laboratory diagnosis.

how do you get asthma?

There is no known cause of but it is triggered by certain things such as Dust from home, pet fur, Pollen from plants, Exercise, Infection, Common cold such as bacterial, etc.

what causes asthma attacks

There is no known cause of but it is triggered by certain things such as Dust from home, pet fur, Pollen from plants, Exercise, Infection, Common cold such as bacterial, etc.

how to test for asthma

The doctor diagnoses asthma by taking a medical history, liver function test that includes spirometry and peak expiratory flow. Similarly, additional tests are the histamine challenge test, exercise challenge test, etc.

how do they test for asthma?

They test for asthma by taking a medical history, liver function test that includes spirometry and peak expiratory flow. Similarly, additional tests are the histamine challenge test, exercise challenge test, etc.

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