What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway hyper-responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing, particularly at night or early in the morning. These episodes are usually associated with widespread, but variable, airflow obstruction within the lung that is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment.
How can asthma affect a person’s lifestyle?
Asthma can limit a person’s activity because of shortness of breath and wheezing. Uncontrolled asthmatics can be living in constant fear of their asthmatic attacks and thus are afraid of leaving their homes or pursuing physical activities. The goal of asthma control is to minimize symptoms with medications so that the patient can lead a normal life.
Can coughing or wheezing be early signs of asthma?
Wheezing is the primary symptom of asthma accompanied by airway hyper reactivity that is reversible with bronchodilators. Chronic cough as defined by lasting more than 8 weeks can be an indicator for asthma. Asthma in children can present as coughing after activities such as running or as night time cough.
Do asthma medications become less effective if taken for a long time?
Contrary to popular belief, proper use of asthma medications can reduce airway inflammation and lead to decrease medication use. On the other hand, inadequately controlled airway inflammation will lead to exacerbations of asthma and the need for more potent medications for rescue therapy.
The aim for asthma management is to achieve the best possible lung function using the least amount of medications neccessary. Successful asthma management involves keeping asthma under control and preventing asthma attacks.