Asthma - Symptoms And Course

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Asthma - Symptoms And Course
Asthma - Symptoms And Course

Video: Asthma - Symptoms And Course

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Video: Asthma Explained Clearly: Asthma Symptoms and Diagnosis 2023, January
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Asthma: symptoms & course

Asthma is a chronic, long-lasting inflammation of the airways. There are periods of stronger and weaker or even no discomfort. If the symptoms intensify for a short time and are associated with shortness of breath, one speaks of an asthma attack.

People who have asthma have hypersensitive airways. They react to different triggers with inflammation of the airways. The bronchi swell and narrow. The air can no longer be breathed in and out unhindered. Often the exhalation is more restricted. The "used" air has to be pressed out of the lungs. Nevertheless, too much air remains in the lungs, so that only less “fresh” air can flow in. If you exhale badly and inhale more and more, too much air collects in the chest. In addition, the passage of oxygen into the blood is hindered by the narrowing of the airways, especially during a severe attack.

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What are the symptoms?

Asthma is associated with typical symptoms, especially:

  • sudden breathlessness (shortness of breath),
  • characteristic breathing sounds when exhaling (rattling, whistling, whistling) - the so-called wheezing,
  • lower resilience and exhaustion as a consequence.

The acute asthma attack

In the event of an acute asthma attack, the sudden, spasmodic constriction of the bronchi (bronchospasm) and the simultaneous swelling of the mucous membrane can lead to extreme restriction of breathing and massive feelings of anxiety, which further intensify the shortage of breath. The most serious complication is the rare but potentially life-threatening status asthmaticus. This is understood to mean a severe seizure or a series of seizures that can last for hours or days and thus represent a medical emergency.

Signs of an asthma attack:

  • paroxysmal shortness of breath,
  • drawing breath noises ("whistling"),
  • Coughing attacks, regardless of physical exertion (often in the early morning hours),
  • Chest tightness,
  • increased breathing rate.

Tip This is what asthma feels like: Try to breathe through a straw with your nose closed until it becomes uncomfortable. The narrow straw makes inhaling and exhaling much more difficult than normal breathing. However forcefully you inhale and exhale, much less air gets into your lungs than usual.

What is asthma like?

The symptoms of bronchial asthma can range from short-term complaints within long time intervals to permanent restriction of breathing and severe attacks of suffocation. After days without symptoms, there may suddenly be a significant deterioration (e.g. in the event of allergen contact). Asthma often occurs in attacks or more intensely during the night or in the early morning. This is due to the natural daily fluctuations of certain hormones (cortisol, adrenaline). It is characteristic of asthma that there are significantly fewer functional impairments or symptoms in the symptom-free interval. The chronic inflammation of the airways is therefore perceived differently by patients: Some have only minor symptoms,so others are severely impaired in their quality of life.

Is Asthma Curable?

Asthma that appears for the first time in childhood may go away later in life. In some cases, the symptoms decrease significantly. The reason why asthma develops or disappears is not yet fully understood. The disease can be favorably influenced by:

  • Avoidance of special substances (e.g. contact with cats should be avoided in the case of a cat allergy);
  • conscious behavior (e.g. keeping an asthma diary). This is conveyed in a patient training course;
  • Medicines: although they cannot cure asthma, they can alleviate the symptoms or significantly extend the symptom-free periods
  • Avoidance of active smoking and exposure to passive smoke.

Long-term consequences

If asthma is inadequately treated, the airways change as a result of the chronic inflammatory processes. The bronchial wall scarred, the muscles thickened. Possible consequences are:

  • permanent changes in the structure of the airways,
  • Loss of elasticity with the consequent overinflation of the lungs,
  • Narrowing of the airways.

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