Asthma in Men
Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs which tends to cause inflammation and the narrowing of the bronchial tubes which are the passageways that allow air/ breath to enter or leave the lungs. Due to asthma, the patient tends to suffer from shortness of breath, along with hearing a wheezy or a whistling sound when he/ she tries to breathe. Most of the Asthma cases are hereditary with the remaining ones being triggered due to environmental factors. This condition has simply got no cure. It can only be controlled with effective treatments that are available.
Asthma can be categorized into two types: Allergic which are caused due to exposure to an allergen and Non-Allergic which are caused due to stress, illnesses like cold or flu, exercise, irritants in the air, exposure to extreme weather or some medications. As far as genders are concerned, asthma affects men more as they are the ones who indulge in heavy exercise and tend to smoke more, which is the primary cause of asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma:
The most common symptoms for asthma are:
- Coughing, especially at night or during exercise or when laughing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Tightness of the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing sound when exhaling the breath
In general, asthma symptoms are serious and can become fatal if left untreated.
Causes of Asthma:
Asthma gets triggered due to exposure to allergens like ragweed, animal dander, pollenor dust mites, irritants in the air such as smoke, strong odours or chemical fumes or extreme weather conditions. Respiratory illness or flu or even exercise for that matter tends to cause asthma attacks. Sometimes physical display of emotions like shouting, crying or laughing in excess affects the breathing pattern which might trigger asthma.
Diagnosis for Asthma:
Asthma can be diagnosed by performing a lung function test using a device called as spirometer. This test helps measure how much and how fast can one exhale air. A chest X-Ray can also be used to identify the presence of Asthma by viewing the lungs.
Apart from this, it can also be diagnosed using a methacholine challenge test. However, this test is performed, only if symptoms and spirometer test do not give proper indicative results. In this test, patient is administered methacholine aerosol mist while inhaling. This mist tends to cause the airways to spasm and gives a positive indication if the spasms become narrow.
Treatment for Asthma:
There is no cure for asthma but it can only be controlled through medications. These medications can either be taken using inhalation method which includes a metered dose inhaler, asthma nebulizer or powder inhaler or by swallowing oral medications. As far as medications are concerned, they are of two types.
1) Anti-inflammatories: These areconsidered to be the most important medication;it includes inhaled steroids which tend to reduce mucus production and swelling in the airways. This causes the airways to become less sensitive and less likely to trigger a reaction. This medication needs to be taken daily for several weeks, in order to bring asthma under control.
2) Bronchodilators: These medications help relax the muscle bands which tighten around the airways, causing airways to rapidly open and letting more air flow through the lungs. These medications tend to stop asthma symptoms and are very useful during an asthma episode.