Health Zone: Asthma is incurable but it’s manageable (Must read)

Asthma is one health issue that may not cease to be of concern to adults and young ones alike. This is because, physicians say, it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Worse still, they say, asthma is an incurable illness; however, with good treatment and management, the average person who is living with the condition can live a normal and active life.

General practitioner, Dr. Greg Obong, describes asthma as a disease that affects the passage that carry air to and from the lungs. He says asthma is a chronic condition because it is long-lasting and recurrent.

According to him, asthma presents with recurrent episodes of whistling sound when the patient breathes (wheezing), shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Experts say the coughing may result in the production of sputum which, sad to say, may be hard to bring up, thus undermining the flow of air even more.

Again, physicians say, when the airways are regularly inflamed as a result of asthma episodes, the situation may result in more permanent narrowing, worsening the health of the patient.

The situation is even scary at night, Obong deposes. At the close of day when the average is already giving thanks and preparing for bed, the asthmatic may be up in bed, as symptoms are usually worse at night.

Again, in the morning when people are ready to face the hassles of the day, the asthmatic has some hurdles to pass, as his symptoms, which usually come unannounced, may spring up in the early morning.

Going to the gym comes with great calculations for the asthmatic, as a simple exercise may leave him gasping for breath. And when the air is cold air, it’s not a matter of just getting warm clothing; rather, the asthmatic has issues to contend with and he needs all the preparations he can get to ensure that his health is not affected by an inclement weather.

So, whether at rest or at work, victims of asthma have no idea when an episode of attack might come, as it can flare up anytime.

Experts say sometimes, asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. “Other times, symptoms continue to get worse. When symptoms get more intense or more symptoms occur, the patient is having an asthma attack,” they enthuse.

Who can get asthma?

Scientists say family history is a risk factor for asthma. For instance, Obong warns, if one identical twin is affected, the probability of the other having the disease is approximately 25 per cent!

“Asthma runs in families; and an individual is more likely to have the condition if one or both parents have it,” Obong advises.

Occupational asthma

And even when you don’t have asthma in your family, the kind of job you are engaged in may seal your fate in this regard.

According to scientists, people in certain occupations run the risk of having asthma. They note, “Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job,” they warn.

Those who work with adhesives, vet doctors, hair dressers, bakers, millers, carpet makers, metal workers, carpenters, seafood processors, pharmaceutical workers, health care workers, spray painters, plastics and foam industry workers, and textile workers, etc., are all susceptible to asthma risks.

In reality, for this category of workers, regular exposure to dyes, drugs, enzymes, wood dust, gum, cereal grains, nickel, cobalt, and animal protein, etc. is the issue. All these elements irritate the lungs and can provoke asthma attack, even in someone who did not have the condition before entering the profession.

Physicians say it is important to attend to the symptoms of asthma immediately they are noticed. “This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening or causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal,” Obong warns.

Menstrual cycle and asthma

Just two years ago, Norwegian researchers found that a woman’s respiratory symptoms, including those of asthma, tend to worsen between day 10 to 22 of her menstrual cycle.

Led by Ferenc Macsali, scientists from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, published their report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Indeed, research reveals that asthma in adults is more common in women than men. This, they say, is because more boys than girls have asthma, but after about age 15, it’s more common in women than men.

Protect your lungs

Physicians say long before you develop lung cancer through smoking, you can develop asthma. This, they warn, is because cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult.

They also warn against exposure to pollutants that can damage your lungs. These include secondhand smoke, outdoor air pollution, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon, all of which can cause or worsen lung disease.

Finally, prevent infections through cold or other respiratory infection by washing your hands often, and practicing good oral hygiene.

You may take flu vaccination if you are susceptible. And, finally, don’t neglect regular medical check-ups.

 Take control of your asthma

 With good management, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.

The key steps are:

-Understand and avoid your asthma triggers

– See your doctor for regular check-ups and work together to manage your asthma

-Follow your personal written asthma action plan, developed with your doctor

– Use your medications as prescribed, even when you feel well

– Make sure you are using your inhaler (puffer) correctly

-Live a healthy lifestyle — stop smoking, follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly





About Don Saint

PR Guru / Author / Promoter / Controversial Writer / Hip Hop Artiste / Actor / Human Rights Activist. The First Nigerian Hip Hop Artiste to obtain a Masters Degree (M.A) in Arts ( Religion & Human Relations). The author of one of the most controversial books in Nigeria; "Emancipation from Masturbation". With over 12 Movies and 3 Musical albums since 2003. Former Events Manager at Silverbird’s Rhythm Fm Awka Station till 2010. For more info. Call : 08033239298.

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