Breathing is something many people probably do without even thinking about it. But not those with asthma. Asthma is a common condition that affects the lungs and causes sufferers difficulty breathing. It affects one in every 12 people.
When non-asthmatics breathe, air flows in through their mouths or noses and enters their windpipes. People with asthma on the other hand, can experience difficulty breathing when their airways swell. Inflamed airways are easily triggered by factors like dust, smoke, allergens, exercise, and change in weather patterns. These triggers can cause different kinds of asthma, such as exercise-or allergy-induced.
Many people with asthma learn about their condition at a young age. To diagnose an asthmatic, doctors usually conduct a physical exam. Doctors also ask about a person's medical history and may send patients to specialists if and when necessary.
Breathing specialists might use tests like "spirometries" or "peak flow meter tests" to evaluate lung capacity and how well one's lungs are working. They may also suggest allergy or exercise tests to see if one's asthma is brought on by certain allergens or physical activity. Doctors occasionally also use x-rays to diagnose asthma.
Thankfully, asthma can often be treated and controlled with medication. Almost all asthma medicines are inhaled into the lungs. These are called "quick-relief medicines" and, as their name suggests, are designed to act quickly. Other medicines, pills, and liquids are called "long-term control medicines": these manage asthma and prevent or decrease symptoms from happening in the first place.
Because all people are different, doctors treat each asthma case individually. Overall, it's important that each individual's care is managed so he or she can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.