Asthma comes from the greek word ἅσθμα or asthma which means panting. It is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs.
When you have asthma symptoms the muscles in the airways tighten and the lining of the airways is inflamed, which causes swelling, which is then protected using by the production sticky mucus over the airway. Although the production of mucus is used by the body to protect the inflamed areas of the airway, this has an adverse effect of causing the airways to become narrowed, so that there is less space for air to flow into and out of your lungs. An excess amount of mucus can actually cause the partial closure of the airways and/or pooling of mucus in the lungs.
There are other heart condition which are commonly diagnosed as Asthma which is actually a coronary condition. One of these includes right sided heart failure. These conditions are an issue where the heart isn’t transferring the carbon dioxide and oxygen between the heart and the lungs effectively, but the brain reads this that the lungs aren’t working properly. Over a long period without treatment, this may lead to failure of the lungs due to being over worked. Please consult your doctor about this.
Triggers of Asthma
Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are many different triggers for asthma, and these can be different for different people.
The most common ones are:
Allergy triggers, e.g. house dust mites, pollens, pets, pollution and moulds
Smoke, e.g. Fire smoke, Cigarette smoke, Tabacco smoke, etc…
Viral infections, e.g. colds and flu
Weather, e.g. cold air, change in temperature, thunderstorms, high levels of humidity, etc…
Work-related triggers, e.g. wood dust, chemicals, metal salts, stress, fumes, etc…
Some foods (although rare) may include dairy products, eggs, peanuts, sulphites and other preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG), food colourings or royal jelly.
Chemicals in foods which may trigger allergies and asthma may include sulphites (common food and drug preservatives; additive numbers 220-228), tartrazine (yellow dye), benzoates, monosodium glutamate (known as MSG) and salicylates
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms differ from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Generally they tend to be worse during the night and early in the morning.
For most people the risk of developing Asthma is approximately 5%, however the condition tends to be genetic increasing the risk to approximately 25% if either parent is a known sufferer.
Asthma is incurable, however if managed in the correct way there is no reason why an asthma sufferer cannot live an active life. If left untreated, the mucus build-up from asthma may lead to Atelectasis, which is the partial blockage or closure of part of the lungs.
Changes to Lifestyle to assist in the management of Asthma
A person with COPD needs to make a number of important lifestyle changes including:
Quit smoking – techniques can include ‘cold turkey’, counselling, nicotine replacement therapy and medications that work on brain receptors. Evidence shows that counselling, together with medical therapy, is most effective.
Increase Physical Activity – try to be as physically active as possible. If possible, attend pulmonary rehabilitation, similar to using the AirPhysio device.
COPD Action Plan – Follow a COPD action plan.
Change Diet – Eat a healthy diet and try to avoid foods with possible irritants as mentioned in theAsthma article.
Plenty of Rest – Make adjustments to your lifestyle and home environment to ensure plenty of rest.
Improve Hydration – Keep adequately hydrated to help keep the mucus in your lungs runny and easier to cough up.
Avoid Irritants – Avoid smoky, dusty, pollen or environments with other irritants.
Join a support group – call Lung Foundation Australia (Tel. 1800 654 301) for information on a support group close to you.
AirPhysio assists in 2 distinct ways:
1. Firstly the clearance process of AirPhysio assists to clear any blockage or build-up of excess mucus through the 2 stage mobilization and elimination method.
2. Secondly, the vibration or flutter effect of the AirPhysio including the deep breathing method assist to condition the airway and assists to improve lung capacity through a physio therapy method of exercising the lungs, similar to exercise.
For more information about Asthma, please refer to the following web pages and articles: