- Different Types of Asthma, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
- Mar 3, 2010
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Classroom: Causes & Symptoms Of Asthma, Natural Cures & Treatments For Asthma
Different Types of Asthma, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Asthma is a group of diseases that negatively affect the respiratory system, particularly the bronchial tubes of the lungs. The different types of asthma, causes and symptoms affect people in different way. It depends on the degree of sensitivity to the irritants that trigger an attack. Treatments are individualized for each person and their type of asthma.
Extrinsic (allergic) asthma:
Allergies are the biggest contributor to the number of cases diagnosed. When allergens enter the body, usually through the airway, histamines are released in response, causing allergy and asthma symptoms to occur.
Exercise induced asthma:
Exercise induced asthma is caused by exercise. It is common for people with asthma to develop symptoms while exercising. There are people who do not have this lung condition, but experience them during physical exertion. The person may be subjected to the wheezing and coughing. Ask your doctor about using an inhaler before exercising.
Cough Variant Asthma, or CVA, is a serious type of asthma due to excessive coughing. This can be caused by upper respiratory infections, such as rhinitis and sinusitis, as well as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The coughing is caused by upper respiratory infections and exercise. Your physician can order testing to check for asthma, and may refer you to a lung specialist for further study and diagnosis.
Occupational asthma is the result of irritants in the workplace. Characteristics of this type involve experiencing symptoms only when you are at work. Symptoms include coughing, nasal drip, and irritated eyes. People at risk for this type of asthma are people who work with animals, hairstylists, medical personnel, and those who work with wood or paint.
Nocturnal, or nighttime asthma, occurs while sleeping. Although it is called Nocturnal, it can happen any time of the day during sleep. It is controlled by the circadian rhythm, or the wake/sleep cycle. Typically, symptoms occur at night while in the reclined position. This is when airways tend to narrow. Secretions from postnasal drip or sinusitis can collect in the airways to cause coughing, wheezing, and respiratory distress. Sleep disturbance is a problem, leaving the person tired and irritable the following day.
Treatments for asthma come in many different forms. They are available as oral pills, inhalers, injections, and IV administration. The focus is to reduce inflammation and swelling as quickly as possible and restore normal breathing. Daily maintenance medications may be required to prevent attacks.
- Anti-inflammatory medications:
- Corticosteroids help to decrease swelling and mucus in the bronchial tubes, and reduce sensitivity to irritants or allergens that can trigger an attack.
- Bronchodilators rapidly act to relax the band of muscles that surround the airways and to clear the mucus for better breathing.
Other treatments include:
Asthma inhalers come in long acting and quick relief forms. The long acting inhalers are used twice per day to prevent the occurrence of an asthma attack and control symptoms. Quick relievers are used in the event of a sudden attack to decrease inflammation and swelling.
This device delivers asthma medication in the form of a mist that is inhaled into the lungs. They can be used for infants and children and for those who do not tolerate inhalers well.
Prednisone is steroid medication that is taken orally. Steroids are used for attacks and used in conjunction with other medications to control symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma, it is very important to follow your health care provider's instructions on taking your medications and adhering to your treatment regimen. Asthma can be a dangerous and life threatening condition that may require immediate medical attention if symptoms become severe.
by Barb Hicks, RN
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.
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