Asthma is a chronic long-term inflammatory disease of the lungs. In a normal human body, the airways of the lungs are open allowing the air to flow in and out easily whereas when you have asthma the airway walls of the lungs inflame and the muscles around the airways become tightened up making the airways narrower which means room space for the air to flow becomes less. This also affects the sensitivity of the nerve endings making them easily irritated.
Asthma attacks all age groups but often starts from childhood. Although the severity and frequency of the attack may vary from person to person. For few people the symptoms are persistent but few others may not have any symptoms at all.
The recurrent symptoms of asthma are
- Tightness in chest,
- Difficulty sleeping
Causes of Asthma
- Genetic reasons –family history of asthma
- Environment factors which include air pollution, exposure to allergens especially in infancy while the immune system is still developing.
- another risk may factor include certain drugs like aspirin and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, low birth weight and respiratory infection from childhood.
Many people experience Asthma only in particular situations such as:
- While exercising
- Smoke from tobacco
- Cold air
- Strong chemical odors
Recommended diagnosis for Asthma
An individual experiencing any of the above symptoms may require to take one of the below tests recommended by the doctor
- Spirometry: It is a pulmonary function test. It checks the amount and speed of the air inhaled and exhaled
- Peak expiratory flow: It is used to measure a person’s maximum speed of expiration with the help of the device called peak flow meter.
Vaccine available for Asthma in India
As this is a chronic disease and really not categories under-immunization, The vaccination for asthma is not available in India. Asthma doesn’t have a permanent cure. As it is a chronic disease proper medication is necessary.
- Avoiding allergens and irritants is required
- Doctors may recommend to use inhalers daily to reduce asthma symptoms
As discussed before asthma symptoms we may vary from person to person. The treatment prescribed for individuals depends on the severity of the symptoms
Also, Check Vaccine for Influenza in India
Some of the short term medication options available are
- Short acting beta agonists – quick relief bronchodilators
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids
- Allergy shots (if it is an allergy induced attack)
- Omalizumab – a drug that acts by altering the immune system
Long term medication are as follows
- Inhaling corticosteroids: If used on an everyday basis the severity of the asthma attacks will be decreased
- Leukotriene modifiers: These drugs help in blocking the action of tightening of airway muscles
- Long acting beta agonists: These help in relaxing the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes there by making the airways wider
- Combination inhalers: As the name suggests it is the combinations of two inhalers “corticosteroid plus a bronchodilator” corticosteroid inhalers helps by reducing the inflammation in the airways whereas the bronchodilator inhaler opens the airways.
Recent studies say that the combination inhalers help people in better ways
- Theophylline: It is inexpensive medicine that relaxes the smooth muscle present around the airways
- Salbutamol: It helps in opening up the medium and large airways in the lungs
These are the vaccines that are available in India for asthma. So with people asthma, Don’t wait to get vaccinated.