Asthma (triggers, causes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHZGbPrTbC8An asthma attack and the associated symptoms of asthma can be triggered by a number of external factors. A virus, bacteria, fungus, parasite, dust, pollen, fur, smoke, pollution and certain medications can all cause an asthma attack.

This film covers all the triggers for asthma and how an asthmatic can go about controlling those triggers.

What causes asthma?

Drug therapy is a vital part of managing and controlling asthma but just as important is identifying and avoiding triggers that cause attacks. These triggers can be divided into three main types: allergens, irritants and infections.

An allergen is any substance that causes a reaction. The majority of asthma sufferers have what is called allergic asthma. There are two categories of allergens, indoor and outdoor. The most common indoor allergens that are associated with triggering asthma are dust mites, cockroaches, mould and animal dander.

Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in carpeting, pillows, mattresses and bedding. Cockroaches can also cause an allergic reaction in some asthma patients. There is an enzyme inside the digestive tract of the cockroaches that patients turn out to be allergic to.

Mould is another common indoor allergen that can affect asthmatics. What people are allergic to are the mould’s spores and mould spores float around in the air and over time the mould builds up so the thing to do is try to keep the humidity down inside the house.

Animal dander is an allergen found throughout the homes of pet owners. It’s not the hair of the animal that’s the problem it’s the dander which comes the saliva and the sweat glands and even the urine. The most important thing would be to completely remove the animal from the home. Now we know that realistically that many patients are not going to do that so at a minimum they have to keep the animal out of the bedroom at all times.

Outdoor allergens that cause asthma

There are also outdoor allergens that can trigger asthma attacks, these include mould, pollen from trees, grass and weeds. Pollen is microscopic so it’s going to be inhaled through your nose, land on your eyes and it’s going to give you symptoms in that manner. There isn’t a lot you can do to avoid it.

Irritants are the second type of asthma trigger. Irritants such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemicals and even changing weather conditions can cause difficulties for asthmatics.

Infections are the third type of asthma trigger. Viral infections like colds can irritate the nose, throat, lungs and sinuses and trigger an asthma attack. Because asthmatics are more susceptible to an attack when they are sick, it’s important to take extra precautions.

Managing/coping with asthma

In addition to knowing and avoiding asthma triggers monitoring the symptoms is a key part of managing the disease.

A peak flow meter is a small hand held device that measures the amount of air that a person can exhale from the large airway in one second. This device gives an asthma sufferer a good indication of how the disease is currently affecting them and a clue to how their environment is affecting their disease.

Learning how to avoid an asthma attack is an important part of managing the disease. The more you know about your asthma and what triggers your attacks the better off you’ll be.

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