Bronchial asthma is an extremely common pulmonary disease that is accompanied by the development of the inflammatory process in the bronchi. This pathology is prone to chronic course and often has an allergic nature of occurrence. In other words, in this case there is a hyperactive reaction of the bronchi in response to the penetration into the respiratory tract of allergens or any other irritating substances.
According to the World Health Organization, bronchial asthma occupies one of the leading positions among all pathological processes that tend to become chronic and, in severe cases, can lead to death. At the same time over the past twenty years, the incidence of asthma has increased several times. According to statistics, at the moment there are about three hundred million people worldwide with this disease.
The mechanism of development of bronchial asthma is most fully reflected in the three main processes. The first process is the narrowing of the airways as a result of spasm of smooth muscle fibers or due to increasing swelling in them. At the same time, there is an increased secretion of mucus in the lumen of the bronchi, which leads to their blockage. Another important point is the replacement of muscle fibers with connective tissue. However, this occurs only during a long course of the pathological process.
Depending on the etiology of the disease, bronchial asthma is allergic, non-allergic, mixed and idiopathic. An allergic variety of this pathology is said if the bronchial hyperactivity is caused by any external allergens, namely repeated contact with them. As mentioned earlier, this process occurs most frequently. A variety of external factors can provoke an allergic reaction. Very often, these include house dust, animal dander, plant pollen, certain foods, drugs, and in some cases even infectious agents.
A non-allergic type of this disease is a spasm of smooth muscle fibers in the bronchi due to contact of the body with any irritating factors. They can be chemicals, cigarette smoke or cold air. In some cases, the symptoms of bronchial asthma occur in response to excessive physical exertion, as well as as a result of chronic bronchitis.
An important point in the development of this pathology is a hereditary predisposition. It is established that more than half of the sick people have relatives with a similar disease.
Symptoms of bronchial asthma
There is a division of bronchial asthma into four degrees of severity depending on how often the seizures form:
- First degree or intermittent
The occurrence of seizures is noted no more than once a week. In this case, as a rule, such attacks do not last long and are not a significant threat to a person’s life. The occurrence of dyspnea at night occurs even less often – no more than twice a month. In this case, the peak expiratory flow rate is more than eighty percent of the normal value;
- Second degree or mild persistent
Dyspnea attacks may appear more than once per week. However, their frequency does not exceed once per day. The frequency of night attacks is also within two or three times a month. The general condition of a sick person in this case suffers more pronounced. However, the peak exit rate is still around eighty percent;
- Third degree or moderate persistent
The exacerbation of the disease occurs daily. At night, shortness of breath develops more often than once a week. The habitual way of life of such a patient changes significantly. Peak expiratory flow rates can range from sixty to eighty percent;
- Fourth degree or severe persistent
Attacks occur several times a day and almost every day at night. A sick person cannot maintain a normal level of physical activity, his quality of life is significantly affected. The peak expiratory rate in this case does not exceed sixty percent.
More specifically, the main symptom of asthma is shortness of breath. An attack of dyspnea is accompanied by difficulty in exhalation, which becomes long and noisy. A sick person complains of a pressing feeling in his chest, he has wheezing, accompanied by a whistle, and a cough with difficult to exude sputum. As a result, he has to take a forced position, namely sitting with the body tilted forward. May be marked blue nasolabial triangle.
Symptoms of bronchial asthma in severe cases can turn into asthmatic status. With an asthmatic status, the seizures are repeated one after another, which often leads to death.
Diagnosis of bronchial asthma
Diagnosis of asthma primarily consists of a study of the respiratory function. For this, spirometry and peak flowmetry are performed. In addition, an x-ray examination of the chest organs, an assessment of the gas composition of the blood, and tests for allergens can be prescribed.
Treatment and prevention of this disease
The main drugs for the relief of dyspnea attacks are beta adrenomimetics, which are used in aerosol form. In addition, m-cholinolytics and xanthine derivatives are quite popular. In severe cases, it is recommended to connect the systemic glucocorticosteroids.
For the prevention of exacerbations of such a pathological process, first of all, it is necessary to identify the factor that provokes the occurrence of seizures, and try to avoid it. Such people definitely need to give up smoking and promptly treat emerging infectious diseases of the respiratory organs.