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Asthma Symptoms

Asthma Symptoms. Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness that affects 25 million people in the United States. Globally, 300 million individuals live with this illness. Asthma can be severe and even life-threatening if not treated properly.

According to the World Health Organization, asthma is the most common chronic disease among children and is a major non-communicable disease (NCD) that affects both children and adults. Asthma is attributed to the inflammation and narrowing of the small airways in the lungs, which could include any combination of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Triggers can be different for every individual, but can commonly include viral infections (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in weather, grass and tree pollen, animal fur and feathers, strong soaps and perfume. Despite these differences, asthma attacks and symptoms are almost always similar to everyone.

So, what are the symptoms of asthma? Some of the most common asthma symptoms are the following:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Sleeping difficulties caused by shortness of breath
  • Coughing attacks exacerbated by a respiratory virus, such as the common cold or the flu

For some, their asthma symptoms are worsened in specific situations:

  • Exercise-induced asthma (cold and dry air)
  • Occupational asthma (irritants such as fumes, gases, or dust)
  • Allergy-induced asthma (allergens like pollen, spores, or furs)

As of the moment, there is no cure for asthma. But, it can be managed through various prescription drugs.

Asthma Drugs

Drugs for asthma treatment are classified into two categories: Quick-relief medications (used for acute asthma) and long-term asthma control medications (used as prophylactic measures) which can help in the treatment of asthma in adults.

Quick-relief medications

  • Short-acting beta2 agonists
  • Antimuscarinics
  • Systemic corticosteroids
  • Intravenous xanthine

Long-term asthma control medications

  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Long-acting beta2agonists
  • Leukotriene inhibitors
  • Xanthines
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