Demystifying Asthma - Causes and Symptoms

By: askafriend
Asthma has become a very prevalent chronic disease these days. However, there is still a lot of misinformation and myth surrounding it. I'd like to take some time now to clear up some of the erroneous information that is circulating out there and help us all begin our study of asthma on the same page.

One question I keep running into is this: What does an asthma attack feel like? After doing a lot research and finding explanation after explanation I finally heard the perfect description. Asthma feels like a fish out of water. Now use your imagination a little and you'll be able to identify with both the terror and physical pain associated with asthma attacks.

Another fact that I have run into a lot while researching this topic is that no matter how long you have had asthma or how many asthma attacks you have had you never get used to the attacks. That is also a big issue to understand. Usually when you experience something over and over again you may not be able to stop it however you do become better at dealing with it.

Due to it's magnitude you probably know one or more people who have asthma today. Despite the new treatments that are out -- the incidence of asthma is growing. However there are still myths and misconceptions about this chronic disease. Let' begin by getting to the real information.

Asthma is now the most common chronic disease in children as it affects 1 in 15 of them today. A total of 5% of adults in North America have asthma as well. That works out to about 1 million in Canada and 15 million in the United States.

An asthma fact worth noting is there are about 5,000 deaths annually in the United States from asthma and about 500 deaths annually in Canada. Over the last 20 years the rate of new asthma sufferers has risen by 30%. Even with the new advances in treatment the deaths of young people from asthma has doubled.

Asthma affects breathing by narrowing the airways which interferes with the normal movement of air in and out of the lungs. Asthma only involves the bronchial tubes and not the air sacs or the lung tissue itself. The narrowing that is caused by asthma is caused by three factors: inflammation, bronchospasm and hyper-reactivity. The combination of these three things is what causes the difficulty in exhaling.

As a result the person with asthma has to forcefully push the air out of their lungs which then causes the wheezing sound. Some people with asthma begin to cough to try to expel the thick mucus plugs.

Asthma may be caused by many different triggers and each person can be triggered by a different substance. Once a person who is suffering with asthma discovers their own triggers they are better able to manage their condition and alleviate some of their attacks.

Another important asthma fact is that 80% of children and 50% of adults who have asthma also have allergies.

Remember today asthma is treatable especially if the individual can identify their own personal triggers. With this knowledge you can assist those you know with asthma to live a better life with less attacks.

Now with the most current information you can understand how this chronic disease can be truly be managed. From this point on you will have a better understanding of just what people you know or meet that have asthma are truly going through.
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