Understanding Asthma Disease – Asthma is a long-term disease of the respiratory tract characterized by narrowing and inflammation of the airways. As a result, there is a sense of breathlessness and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms of asthma are chest pain, cough, and wheezing.

Respiratory tracts of asthma tend to be more sensitive than those who do not have  It. That’s why when the lungs of an asthmatic patient are irritated to one of the triggers, the respiratory muscles become stiff and the airways narrow. Some of the triggers include cigarette smoke, exposure to chemicals, animal fur, or even cold air.

WHO estimates about 235 million world population is asthmatic. According to data from Health Research Data Ministry of Health Indonesia 2013, people with asthma in  Indonesia is 4.5 percent of the total population. The highest prevalence of asthma is in Central Sulawesi 7.8 percent followed by Nusa Tenggara Timur 7.3 percent, DI Yogyakarta 6.9 percent and South Sulawesi 6.7 percent.

Asthma can attack anyone and can not be cured. However, proper handling can control  attacks and sufferers can enjoy a quality life.

If you have asthma since childhood, the symptoms may disappear as teenagers and reappear in adulthood. However, symptoms of asthma in the middle and heavy categories in childhood will tend to persist. Asthma can appear at any age, not necessarily from childhood.

Asthma is a chronic disease. If not handled properly can be found effects on  quality of life, among others:

  • Easily tired
  • Psychological problems such as depression
  • Growth disorders in children
  • Refractory asthma, severe asthma conditions despite already with the maximum use of therapy
  • Failed to breath
  • Damage to the lungs


Diagnosis of Asthma Disease

To perform a diagnosis of asthma, the doctor will perform a series of tests.  Starting from a patient interview by asking questions about perceived symptoms,  such as when symptoms appear and their frequency, whether shortness of breath accompanied by chest pain and family health history.

If the information obtained leads to asthma, doctors would then perform a physical examination and laboratory tests. The following are tests that doctors generally  perform in the diagnosis of asthma:

  • Spirometry

The patient will be asked to breathe deeply and exhale it as quickly as possible into the spirometer tool. This test is intended to measure the lung performance based on the volume of air that the patient can breathe in one second and the total amount of air released.

  • Peak Expiration Flow Test

This test is performed with the purpose of measuring the level of the gust of air. The doctor will ask you to exhale as quickly as possible into the Peak Flow Meter (PFM) tool. The results will show how quickly you can breathe air from your lungs in one breath.

Doctors can advise patients to buy PFM for home use. Then you will be asked to do a test every day and record the results and when the test is done. This will provide accurate data to determine when asthma worsens.

  • Other Asthma Tests

In addition to these two tests, some of the following tests may be needed to  Diagnose asthma or help detect other diseases. The test in question is:

  • Respiratory Response Test

The examination is performed to determine the airway reaction if exposed to one of the triggers of asthma. You will be asked to inhale dry powder (mannitol), which is increased in number as the test progresses. Then you will exhale into the spirometer to see how high the rate of FEV1 and FVC changes after the trigger. If it goes down drastically, then most likely the patient has asthma.

  • Allergic examination

The doctor will perform an allergy test to find out if asthma symptoms occur because of allergies to something.

  • CT scan

If the doctor suspects breathing difficulties, not as a symptom of asthma but rather a lung infection or nasal cavity abnormality, then a CT scan will be performed.

Symptoms  of Illness Asthma

Most people with asthma must have experienced difficulty breathing. Patients with severe conditions may even experience it more often. The main symptoms of asthma include wheezing (the sound produced by the air as it travels through the narrowing of the breathing passages), the chest feels like a choking, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Indeed, these symptoms can be caused by several things  but can be ascertained as  asthma if:

  • Frequent recurrence
  • Symptoms feel worse at midnight and early morning
  • It seems to occur in response to an asthma trigger-such as excessive physical activity or exposure to allergens (such as animal fur)

The symptoms of asthma are worsening in a short time, known as an asthma attack. This can happen suddenly or gradually over several days. Symptoms of asthma  attacks, among others:

  • Wheezing, coughing, and chest feels like squeezing are getting heavier and more frequent
  • The activity of eating, talking, and sleeping is disturbed by difficulty breathing
  • Heartbeat
  • Drowsy, confused, tired, or dizzy
  • Blue fingers or lips
  • Fainting

If you are already diagnosed with asthma, at the time of this asthma attack the inhaler relief will not help and the peak flow test results of respiration seen decreased quite drastically. Immediately see a doctor to get further treatment.


Treatment of Disease Asthma

Treatment of asthma has two goals, namely, relieve symptoms and prevent symptoms of relapse. Of course, treatment should be adjusted to the results of doctor’s  diagnosis and condition of the patient.

The main treatments for asthma include:

  • Avoiding triggers for symptoms
  • Using a relieving inhaler-used to relieve short-term asthma symptoms by making the respiratory tract relax
  • Use of preventative inhalers -use daily routine to reduce inflammation of the respiratory tract and prevent symptoms of asthma relapse
  • Use of a preventive and relieving inhaler combination -used daily to prevent the onset of asthma symptoms and make the respiratory tract relaxed for longer  periods

Asthma Handling Plan

Your doctor will guide you to create an individual asthma handling journal. In it, there is information about the drugs consumed, how to monitor the condition, and what to do in case of an asthma attack. Preferably, this treatment plan is reviewed at least once a year. If asthma symptoms worsen, the review should be done more often.

Recommended asthma medicines

In addition to handling with inhalers, medications are sometimes also required in the treatment plan, for example:

  • Theophylline tablet. Generally, people with asthma are given this drug to help Dilate the respiratory tract by relaxing the muscles around it.
  • Tablet leukotriene receptor antagonist (montelukast). Drugs took once daily to prevent inflammation in the respiratory tract. These drugs are used to prevent asthma symptoms. Side effects include stomach upset or a headache.

Oral steroids

If your asthma is still uncontrollable, your doctor may recommend taking a steroid tablet. This drug can relieve inflammation that occurs in the respiratory tract.

Lung specialists will monitor the use of this drug because if taken in the long the term will have side effects on bone loss, hypertension, diabetes, weakened muscles,  thinning skin, and increased appetite. The more serious side effects are cataracts or glaucoma.

Usually, the doctor will only give the drug for a short period of time as an additional drug is handling another infection. Afterwards, the patient will return to the previous treatment plan.

Asthma Control

Although asthma can not be cured, the sufferer can lead a quality life if doing  the following:

  • Recognize and avoid asthma triggers
  • Recognize asthma attacks and treatment measures appropriately
  • Use drugs given by doctors on a regular basis
  • Pay attention to the condition of your airway

If the use of inhaler relief more often, consult a doctor. It could be that your treatment plan requires adjustment to the condition.

Cause of Disease Asthma

Asthma is not known yet. People with asthma have a swollen and sensitive respiratory tract. When exposed to asthma trigger factors, the respiratory tract is more susceptible to narrowing and blocking mucus.

Here are some things that can trigger the symptoms of asthma:

  • Infections, especially those associated with the upper airway such as flu animal Fur, Cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Excessive emotion, such as laughing out loud
  • Food allergies, such as peanut allergies
  • Stress
  • Weather, including changes in air temperature, cold air, damp
  • Damp or dusty indoor conditions
  • Sports

Once the trigger is known, try to avoid it to control the symptoms of asthma.

Risk factors

Although the cause of asthma is unknown. However, some things may increase your risk for the disease, including the following:

  • Has a family history of asthma or atopic diseases such as eczema
  • Has atopic condition
  • Suffer from bronchitis
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke in childhood
  • Mothers smoke when they contain patients
  • Born as a premature baby or low birth weight

Prevention of Disease Asthma

Prevention of Asthma in the Home Environment

  1. Maintain the cleanliness of the bed

Sleeping equipment such as mattresses and pillows, bed linen is one place where the mite causes asthma. For that, you should use anti-allergic pillow or mattress and always a routine to wash bedding like bed linen once a week. It aims to reduce moisture and help prevent fungus.

  1. Do not let pets be in bed or other furniture

Pet fur, such as the dangers of cat hair or inhaled dogs, is one of the most common causes of asthma. For that do not let pets are in bed or on other furniture.

  1. Clean carpets and children’s toys

Carpets and children’s toys like dolls are a hotbed for allergenic dust and asthma. For that, how to prevent this asthma by doing the cleaning of both objects on a regular basis by using a vacuum cleaner equipped with HEPA air filters at least 2 weeks.

     4. Keep the air circulation

This fungus is one of the triggers of common asthma disorders. To reduce this, keep the air circulation inside the house by opening the windows and keeping the bathroom clean and dry.

  1. Avoid cleaning products containing chemicals

Gases originating from household cleaners, such as sprayed glass cleaners, can trigger asthma. Avoid inhaling the gas for how to prevent asthma due to allergies.

Prevention of Asthma in the Office environment

  1. Avoid smoking

Cigarette smoke is an enemy to people with asthma because the danger of cigarette smoke coming from the fire can cause asthma disorders. For that avoid smoking habits or inhaling cigarette smoke from people around.

  1. Avoiding stress

Intense emotion and anxiety can worsen asthma symptoms. To avoid stress due to work problems can be done by distributing hobbies, as well as refreshing for relaxation. This will calm the mind as usual.

  1. Always on standby

Always preparing asthma relief medicines in the bag is the right step when an asthma attack occurs.

This is aimed at the event of a sudden asthma attack like in the office, already know how to treat asthma as first aid. For example by bringing an asthma inhaler wherever go.


Prevention Outside

  1. Avoid air that is too cold

The air is too cold is believed to be able to trigger asthma disorders for example if it has occurred in the wind. Therefore, before the cold weather changes prepare you and the environment to stay warm.

  1. Avoiding sources that can trigger allergies

At certain moments some types of plants will experience the process of pollination. This is what will happen pollination of pollen is believed to be one of the allergens that cause asthma. For that, you should stay indoors during the process of pollination takes place

  1. Always pay attention to weather conditions

Weather that is too hot, humid and poor air quality can aggravate asthma symptoms for some people. For that, you should limit outdoor activity when this condition occurs.

  1. Doing light exercise indoors

Doing light physical activity is very important for people suffering from asthma disorders. To avoid the risk of asthma disorders, should do activities or light exercise in a warm room.

Prevention of asthma in children

Children are actually the most susceptible to allergic asthma because sometimes not yet understand how the conditions it faces. Here’s how to prevent asthma in children outside the home, one at school:

  • Make sure the people around your child know asthma suffered by the child. This is so that, later when you experience asthma, they know what to do as a relief action.
  • Avoiding allergen dust. Dust, as produced by chalk, can lead to asthma. For that, it is better to place a blackboard on the student’s desk.
  • Make sure drugs and asthma relief equipment such as inhaler are always in your child’s bag. It aims to provide help when a sudden attack occurs.