Bronchial Asthma as a Public Health Concern

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 180,000 people die every year because of Bronchial Asthma. About 22 million people suffer from this condition in America alone, including 6.5 million children and youngsters.

It is a chronic inflammatory disease which primarily targets the airway. Because of the mortality and morbidity rate, it is considered as a public health concern all over the world.

Causes
Asthma is usually caused by an inflammation in the airways. Once airways are inflamed, they become tight and the surrounding muscle linings swell, causing only small amount of air to pass. Sometimes asthma is associated with allergy. Researches have found that asthmatic people are often especially sensitive to allergens.

Common factors that trigger bronchial asthma include:

– Animal dander (usually pets at home like dogs and cats)
– Changes in weather condition
– Tobacco smoke
– Certain food
– Air pollution
– Dust
– Exercise
– Emotional stress
– Infection (like common colds and flu)
– Drugs or medication (aspirin and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS)

Asthma attack ranges from minutes to days or mild to severe

Symptoms
Common symptoms include the following:

– Cough with or without sputum
– Shortness of breath
– Wheezing
– Intercostal retraction
– Chest pain
– Nasal flaring

Other symptoms that alert for immediate care are:

– Extreme difficulty of breathing
– Bluish color of lips
– Decreased level of alertness and consciousness
– Rapid pulse
– Sweating

When this symptoms occur, call you doctor immediately for proper interventions.

Treatments
In treating bronchial asthma, the goal is to avoid factors that trigger the attack and also control airway inflammation.

Medications for asthma include control drugs to prevent attack and quick relief drugs for use during attack. Frequently used medications that control and prevent asthma attack are the inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta-agonist inhalers.

Prevention
In preventing asthma attack, planning is very important. A person with bronchial asthma should always know how to avoid allergens that might trigger the attack. Aside from that, recognizing if the asthma is getting worse is important.

Since asthma has no cure, the only life savers are preventive and control measures as listed here:

1. Quitting smoking or avoiding contact with tobacco smoke prevents an attack.
2. Cover beddings with “allergy proof” casings to reduce allergens.
3. If the person with asthma is allergic to pet dander, keep pets out of the person’s living space.
4. Avoid dust, air pollutants, or irritating fumes as mush as possible.
5. Keeping the house and rooms clean reduces possibility of having pests.
6. Keep humidity at low levels to decrease growth of molds.

Although bronchial asthma has no cure, symptoms associated with this condition can improve over the time. With proper medication, medical management, and self care, people with asthma can live a normal happy life.

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