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Is Asthma Genetic? Or Is It Just A Myth?

doctor with asthmatic patient

Do you or one of your loved ones have asthma? Do you want to know and understand more about this health condition? In this article, we are going to discuss the facts about asthma. Starting by answering “Is asthma genetic?”

The main cause of asthma is still unknown. According to multiple types of research, it can be caused by inherited genes, but just because your parents have this condition does not mean that you will have it too. Visit www.shchatswoodmedicalcentre.com.au/signs-and-symptoms-asthma/ if you wish to know more.


Probable Causes And Triggers Of Asthma

Some people have severe asthma, while others don’t even show any signs of having this condition. Several elements are affecting the triggers and symptoms of asthma. Environmental factors for example play a huge role in its causes.

Strong emotions and depression can trigger asthma symptoms. Feeling and expressing strong emotions can affect your breathing which may lead from a minor to a severe asthma attack. These emotions may include excitement, sadness, anger, fear, happiness, and the likes.

Air pollution is one of the most common causes of an asthma attack. Studies suggest that environmental factors do affect people with asthma, some people with minor asthma symptoms may develop severe asthma symptoms because of air pollution. This pollution can be man-made or just occur naturally in the environment. It includes gasses in the air, smoke from cars or fires, and dust particles caused by a volcanic eruption.polluted environment

Asthma can be triggered by the change of seasons. Cold air, for example, causes the airways to become dry and dry airways get irritated and swollen which worsens the asthma attack.

Exercise-induced asthma can also trigger an asthma attack and its symptoms. Exercising can narrow the airways causing shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Although it cannot be considered as the root cause of asthma.

According to research, at least 10 to 20 percent of people with asthma have asthmatic reactions to aspirin, painkillers, and some anti-inflammatory drugs.

Sulfites and some preservatives may cause an asthma attack too, asthma symptoms may occur when an asthmatic person consume foods containing sulfites.


Types Of Asthma

  • Adult-onset asthma- some people do not show any signs or symptoms of asthma until they’re adults. One factor to consider in this type of asthma is that why would the symptoms only show up in adulthood? Sometimes, people were simply able to avoid their asthma triggers from childhood. For example, moving from a rural area where the air is clean and fresh to an urban area where pollution takes place.
  • Allergic asthma- this is a type of asthma that includes allergic reactions. But it is important to consider that not all people with allergies have asthma. Asthma attacks can be triggered by different environmental factors like dust, pollen, and pet dander. Dogs, cats, mice, and rabbits to name a few. A person can be allergic to just one or certain types of animals.
  • Asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or ACOS- a combination of asthma and COPD. COPD is a lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing and obstruction of airflow. A severe asthma attack may occur when the patient experiences the symptoms of these two diseases at once.
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction- an asthma attack caused by physical activities. It is better to consult your doctor first before engaging in any extreme physical activities.
  • Non-allergic asthma- people with asthma can be triggered by stress, drugs, food preservatives, and change in weather conditions, it can be caused by the intense heat of the summer or during winter. Sometimes stress and intense living conditions might also cause sleep apnea, another breathing issue that most people are unaware of.
  • Occupational asthma- people who work around perfumes, body sprays, or cologne, and has a long time exposure to chemicals will most likely experience an occupational asthma attack. Examples of these occupations are detergent manufacturers, laboratory workers, plastic workers, bakers, and the likes.


Best Treatment For Asthma

Strictly following the doctor’s instructions will help in controlling asthma attacks. Proper food intake and medication play a big role in preventing severe asthma attacks to happen. Some medicines may be taken orally and some are inhaled or breathed in, some of which can provide instant relief while other medicines are meant for long-term control. It is also important for the person to live in a clean and disinfected environment.

Quick-relief medicines can only be used from time to time, if you need to use this medicine frequently, it is best to visit the doctor and ask for advice. Long-term control medicines can lessen asthma attacks, they also help severe asthma patients have milder attacks, but these medicines can’t help you with the actual asthma attack.

Different Kinds of Asthma Medicines and Their Side Effects
  1. Inhaled corticosteroids. This type of medicine is used for long-term control of asthma. They help in reducing swelling and tightening airways. You will feel changes in your asthma attacks after taking this medicine for several months. The side effects of this medicine include having a hoarse voice, nosebleeding, cough, and oral thrush.
  2. Leukotriene modifiers. This medicine blocks the immune system chemicals that trigger asthma attacks. Its effect usually lasts for up to 24 hours. Side effects of leukotriene modifiers are heartburn, headache, rash, and fever.
  3. Theophylline. This medicine is in the form of a pill that needs to be taken on a daily basis. This is commonly known to be helpful in nighttime asthma attacks causing insomnia, restlessness, and irritability.
  4. Long-acting beta-agonists. This medication can open airways and reduce swelling in about 12 hours. These types of medicines are used to control severe asthma and nighttime attacks. Taking such medicine can cause muscle pain, headaches, and nervous tension.
  5. Ipratropium. This is a short-acting bronchodilator is used for chronic bronchitis, but it is also prescribed to people with a combination of asthma and COPD. Common side effects of ipratropium are bladder pain, difficulty with breathing, wheezing, and the frequent need to urinate.
  6. Oral corticosteroids for severe asthma. This medicine is prescribed to help control severe asthma attacks. Long term use of this medication is not advised because of its side effects that include high blood pressure, mood and memory problems, delirium, and fluid retention.
  7. Biologics. This medication is prescribed only to people with severe asthma that cannot be controlled easily by other asthma medicines. Biologics have certain side effects just like other medicines such as chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.
medications for asthmaAllergic Asthma Medication
  1. Allergy shots. this usually begins with a skin test to identify if which allergens cause your asthma symptoms. You will be given a series of shots containing small doses of that allergen to help your body lose its sensitivity to it. Allergic shots are done once a week for several months, then once a month for 3 or more years.
  2. Allergy medications. This medication includes oral and nasal spray decongestants. Allergy medicines can be bought over-the-counter but require a prescription. They can help with allergic rhinitis but cannot be used as a substitute for asthma medicines.


Living Together With An Asthmatic Person

It is important to always keep yourself well informed if you are living together with an asthmatic person. Take time to do some research on how you can help them in case of an asthma attack. Here are the few things to remember in taking care of an asthmatic person;

  1. Stay calm. You can reassure the patient that everything is going to be okay if you are not showing any signs of stress and panic.
  2. Eliminating the trigger. If you are well aware of their asthma triggers, it would be best of you will try to remove the trigger near them or bring them to a different room away from it.
  3. Assess the gravity of the attack. Is it mild, moderate, or severe? It would help to know these things so you can help them in describing the attack to their doctor during checkup or emergency situations.
  4. Help them sit up. This will help them breathe properly and easily.

Always remember that a person with asthma is just like any other patient that needs help in order for them to feel better. Remember these tips the next time you lend a helping hand to someone in need of medical attention.