Asthma is a condition affecting the lungs and the breathing airways, and it is becoming increasingly common throughout the world. In Western countries especially, incidences are far in advance of where they were half a century ago, leading to speculation that modern building materials or factors in the environment could be causing the problem, especially for adult onset asthma. The condition is becoming more common throughout the world, however, and there is still no consensus of opinion as to what the exact causes are.
Even defining what is asthma and what is a related breathing disorder is somewhat problematic, as there is no defined diagnostic procedure which can allow a physician to state beyond doubt that an individual is suffering from that condition. It is usually diagnosed following a monitoring of symptoms over a period of time. This is made more difficult be the fact that there is more than one type of asthma, including those which are caused by allergens and which are closely related to food and other allergies. These allergic asthmas can often be more difficult to treat, as there is a need to eliminate exposure to the allergen while at the same time controlling the breathing and reducing symptoms enough to allow the patient to live a normal life.
Attempts to define asthma are made more difficult by this uncertainty as to the absolute cause, although it seems inevitable that there are different types of asthma with different causes. Where an allergen is not the cause, it is likely that environmental factors will be the initial cause of the condition. This is apparently borne out by the dramatic rise in the number of sufferers in polluted Western city environments. Even in rural areas, the air quality is often severely affected and it is easy to see why young people growing up in a polluted environment are severely affected.
Even where environmental pollutants are not the direct cause of asthma attacks, they can clearly be an exacerbating factor in making the symptoms worse. This is seen at its most dramatic with cigarette smoking, as this takes poisons and pollutants directly to where they can affect the breathing the most. When you think that even smokers who do not suffer from asthma are prone to wheeze and cough, you can imagine the effect smoking will have on those which do have a genuine asthmatic condition. Giving up smoking and avoiding smoky environments is the first essential in controlling asthma.
Those learning all about asthma quickly realize that there is no actual cure for the condition, and that the best that can be achieved is a controlling of the symptoms and a management of the condition to the extent that the patient lives a relatively normal life. This is easier to do once the triggering factors can be ascertained and determined, although there will still be environmental pollutants which will be difficult to avoid without a major change of lifestyle. There are cases which respond well to a physical move to where the air is less polluted.
There are many cases of asthma where the symptoms are so severe that they can even be life threatening if not controlled. Having access to the right drug treatments which can be quickly applied is essential, which is why many asthma sufferers carry inhalers which can dispense Salbutamol and relieve symptoms quickly. Long term drug treatments can also lessen the severity of attacks when they occur, so make sure that any drug prescriptions are adhered to strictly. Inhalers are also often used as an effective way of dispensing the long term medications.
Any source of information about asthma will tell you that the prognosis is good once the diagnosis has been made and appropriate treatments started. This is true, with the given understanding that the patient will be able to follow those treatments which are recommended. It is far easier, for example, to tell someone to quit smoking than it is to actually do this, especially if you have been addicted to tobacco for a long period of time. If techniques such as hypnotherapy need to be used to complement the medication being taken, this should be done as the situation could be serious.
Researching asthma, and learning facts about asthma which can help you to manage the condition and live as normal a life as possible, is easier than ever before thanks to the wealth of information which is available online. You can find comprehensive and detailed reports of the current diagnosis and treatment of asthma in countries around the world, including from some highly regarded authorities such as the British National Health Service. This advice can be a great help to you, but never let it take precedence over the advice given by your own practitioners, who have first hand knowledge of your own case of asthma.