"The essence of health is inner balance" - Andrew Weil

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways of the lungs. During an asthma attack the airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Possible Causes: 

Asthma happens due to chronic inflammation of the airways; the airways become narrow and fill up with mucus. This can be triggered by any of the following conditions:

  • Allergies including food and preservatives.
  • Smoking and exposure to smoke.
  • Cold, flu, sinus infections or bronchitis.
  • Change in weather.
  • Heartburn or acid reflux.
  • Exercise

Risk Factors: 

Some risk factors to getting asthma are as follows:

  • Obesity.
  • Smoking or breathing polluted air.
  • Presence of allergens in the environment – such as cat and dog allergens, cockroaches, fungi, mould and dust mites.
  • Family history.
  • Childhood asthma occurs more often in boys than in girls.
  • Maternal smoking and premature birth.

Signs & Symptoms: 

People with asthma are unable to breathe comfortably as there is swelling in the bronchial tubes with secretions inside. Asthma signs and symptoms could include:

  • Shortness of breath and difficulty in speaking.
  • Wheezing when inhaling and exhaling.
  • Bouts of coughing at night or after exercising.
  • Sneezing, running nose, congestion, sore throat, headache.
  • Tired, moody or anxious.
  • Feeling heavy on your chest or pain.
  • The face becomes sweaty and lips turn blue in severe cases.

Diagnosis: 

The doctor at Medcare shall ask you if experience any difficulty in breathing, experience tightness in the chest, wheezing or cough. Then a basic physical examination conducted by your doctor will reveal if there is a whistling sound as you breathe. 

Our doctors use some simple tests to confirm their findings:

  • Spirometry is used to ascertain if there is any airway obstruction. 
  • A small device called a peak flow meter measures how well your lungs push out air. 
  • The specialist may advise a chest X-ray to check your lungs.
  • Allergy tests through blood or skin can be requested.

Treatment Options: 

At Medcare, internal medicine specialists will prescribe the best asthma treatment for you.

Asthma may be treated with medicines that control the symptoms immediately. These are called rescue medications. Medications that prevent further attacks are called controller medications. Rescue inhalers help ease asthma symptoms instantly when they happen, by relaxing the muscles that tighten around the airways. 

Other treatment options are:

  • Inhaled short acting beta 2 agonist that give immediate relief from symptoms.  
  • Inhaled corticosteroids that reduce swelling and mucus in your lungs. 
  • Nebulization.
  • Long-acting beta-agonists that relax and open your airways.
  • Others are biologics, leukotriene modifiers and long-acting bronchodilators.
  • Finally, oral corticosteroids which will work if no other medicine works.
  • Pneumococcal and flu vaccine is recommended each year as it protects you against seasonal influenza and pneumonia.
FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How can I find out if allergies are causing my asthma, and what I’m allergic to?

    A: It is best that you consult an allergy specialist who can conduct tests to identify the substances that you are allergic to. Avoid these and observe whether your asthma attacks lessen. Once you know what allergens trigger your asthma, you can ensure that you minimise exposure to them.

  • I want to exercise, but I often get an asthma attack when I do. What can I do?

    A: Don’t avoid exercising because it may trigger an asthma attack. Exercise is very beneficial for you, and you can find ways to exercise without triggering attacks. Warming up prior to exercise may prevent attacks. 

    Ask your doctor whether you should take inhaled medication before you start exercising. And if you are allergic to pollen, you may need to avoid exercising outdoors. You may have to avoid exercising if you have a viral infection, such as a cold.

  • What foods should I avoid to for asthma prevention?

    A: The most common foods in which you find allergens are cow's milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shrimp and other shellfish so you may avoid these.

  • Is there any natural therapy for asthma?

    A: Natural relaxation therapy like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, biofeedback, yoga and acupuncture can help reduce stress which may alleviate the symptoms of asthma.