General Concepts of Asthma
Today we will discuss general concepts because we can move only when we understand the basics.
So, bronchial asthma (BA) is a disease in which inflammation occurs in the bronchi. Most often, it’s of an allergic nature.
This inflammation is not caused by microbes or viruses, it arises from the contact of a person with allergens, irritating substances, occupational factors.
Inflammation involved different cells – eosinophils, neutrophils, mast cells, lymphocytes
Usually, with allergic inflammation of the bronchi, the hyperreactivity of the airways occurs – this means that the bronchi redundantly narrow after the contact with the allergen-stimulus.
As a result of such an allergic inflammation, various substances are released in the bronchi that lead to their spasm, edema, accumulation of mucus.
A person with asthma experiences:
- a feeling of difficulty breathing,
- the feeling of heaviness in the chest,
- whistles and wheezing in the chest,
- a cough,
- suffocation (in rare cases).
These symptoms may worsen at night and / or in the early morning.
The violation of bronchial patency, which we described above, is called “bronchial obstruction”. In allergic diseases, it is reversible under the influence of drugs or spontaneously.
Allergens that can cause asthma are diverse:
- scrub, dander, and saliva;
- plant pollen;
- home dust;
- professional allergens;
- nood foods and nutritional supplements.
Often, bronchial asthma is accompanied by allergic rhinitis, which occurs due to allergic inflammation in the nasal mucosa.
The disease develops mostly in childhood or adolescence but it can also develop at an older age.
Factors that affect the development and manifestation of asthma:
- genetic predisposition to atopy;
- genetic predisposition to bronchial hyperreactivity;
- pol (in childhood, asthma is more likely to develop in boys, in adolescents and adults, in women);
- allergens: house dust mites, pet allergens, cockroach allergens, fungal allergens, plant pollens, fungal allergens;
- infections (mainly viral);
- professional factors: pollutants of the atmosphere: ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, combustion products of diesel fuel, etc.;
- tobacco smoke (active and passive smoking).
Diagnosis of asthma is based on the clinical picture of the disease. There are no special analyzes!
The diagnosis is based on the characteristic symptoms, if there is no alternative explanation for their occurrence.
Symptoms of asthma:
An asthmatic patient has more than one of the following symptoms: wheezing, choking, feeling of congestion in the chest and cough, especially in the following cases:
- worsening of symptoms at night or in the pre-morning hours;
- the onset of symptoms during physical exertion, exposure to allergens and cold air;
- the onset of symptoms after taking aspirin or beta-blockers.
- common dry whistling rales (throughout the chest) that are heard at a distance, as well as when listening (auscultation) of the chest;
- presence of atopic diseases in the anamnesis or presence of BA and / or atopic diseases in relatives;
- low spirographic indices, the presence of obstruction which is not explicable by other causes (if a spirogram was performed);
- the increase in the level of eosinophils in the blood, which can not be explained by other causes.