Nine year old Evan Smith was diagnosed as having Asthma at a young age. He is able to manage his Asthma and participate in sports without any trouble. "He can do pretty much anything, he skates, he plays hockey, he hikes, he's very active," says Evan's father Curtis Smith.
Dr. Faoud Ishmael with the Allergy and Immunology department at Penn State Hershey Medical Center says with proper medical care, preventative treatment and trying to limit triggers, people with Asthma can live a normal life. Dr. Ishmael says, "in children that have persistent asthma that may be more severe sometimes we have to put them on a controller medicine like one of the inhalers on an everyday basis to control symptoms. So it's a combination of both medical treatment as well as well as avoiding the riggers when we can."
Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
Bronchial asthma; Exercise-induced asthma
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swells. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by.
In sensitive people, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergy-causing substances (called allergens or triggers).
Common asthma triggers include:
- Animals (pet hair or dander)
- Changes in weather (most often cold weather)
- Chemicals in the air or in food
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Strong emotions (stress)
- Tobacco smoke
Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provoke asthma in some patients.
Most people with asthma have attacks separated by symptom-free periods. Some people have long-term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath. Either wheezing or a cough may be the main symptom.
Asthma attacks can last for minutes to days, and can become dangerous if the airflow is severely restricted.
- Coughwith or without sputum (phlegm) production
- Pulling in of the skin between the ribs when breathing (intercostal retractions)
- Shortness of breaththat gets worse with exercise or activity
- Wheezing, which:
- Comes in episodes with symptom-free periods in between
- May be worse at night or in early morning
- May go away on its own
- Gets better when using drugs that open the airways (bronchodilators)
- Gets worse when breathing in cold air
- Gets worse with exercise
- Gets worse with heartburn (reflux)
- Usually begins suddenly
For more information from Penn State Hershey Medical Center: http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=117&pid=1&gid=000141