A discussion of the dangers of asthma.
Asthma is a disease that affects more than 22 million Americans. It is incurable. Sufferers of asthma have inflamed lung tissue, which means their lungs are swollen and sensitive. This sensitivity causes breathing tubes to narrow, making it difficult for the sufferer to breathe. This leads to coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pains. These are the minor symptoms of asthma and indicate an asthma attack. Asthma attacks occur when the sufferer is exposed to an allergic substance. Asthma attacks can be dealt with as they occur by use of an inhaler. Medicine can also be taken daily to help reduce the regularity of attacks. People with asthma can live normal, productive lives with few hindrances. However, there are more serious concerns for asthma sufferers. Sometimes these dangers are ignored by the average asthma sufferer. Sometimes they are unaware of these dangers.
Short Term Problems
The short-term problems involved with asthma are many. Depending on the seriousness of their asthma, an average asthma sufferer can have an attack once a week to many times per day. These attacks can occur at any time. Asthma sufferers should avoid smoking to help avoid making their condition worse. Strenuous activity immediately after an attack should also be avoided, as this often exasperates the problem. If an asthma attack lasts too long, there is the possibility of losing consciousness. Injury could occur if a sufferer faints and falls to the ground. These symptoms can be avoided by careful monitoring of all attacks and treating them with the care they need. If proper care isn't given, it can lead to more serious risks.
Long-Term Lung Damage
The major threat to an asthma sufferer is long-term, permanent lung damage. The swollen lungsof an asthma sufferer can cause their lungs to stretch permanently. With proper medical treatment and care during asthma attacks, it is possible to avoid any kind of serious permanent damage. But if asthma is not treated well enough, long-term lung damage can occur. This long-term lung damage actually increases the chances of asthma attacks. It can also increase the risk of heart disease, as irregular breathing and shortness of breath can cause the heart to work harder or to even beat irregularly. Permanent damage can be done to both the heart and the lungs. If this damage isn't treated or avoided, it can create a cycle of longer and more frequent asthma attacks. Though rare, death has occurred during asthma attacks because of their length and intensity.
Risk of Emphysema
Although deaths have occurred during asthma attacks, a more common and realistic effect of permanent long term lung damage is emphysema. Although emphysema is more common in cigarette smokers, asthma sufferers who do not treat their disease correctly can begin to suffer from the much more serious risk of emphysema. Emphysema is caused by a loss of elasticity in the lung tissue. This makes it much more difficult for the sufferer to breathe. While an asthma sufferer experiences only momentary attacks that make it difficult to breathe, emphysema sufferers feel the same problem every single time they breathe. The potential for heart damage is even greater for emphysema sufferers because of the frequency of their difficulty in breathing. Emphysema often leads to death.
The easiest way to treat these problems is to avoid them ever occurring. Taking care of your asthma on a day-to-day basis, talking to your doctor often and trying to keep a healthy lifestyle will all contribute to the prevention of these problems.