Asthma is an inflammation of the airways that has affected a large population globally at an ever increasing rate for the last forty years. Currently, this disease in last year alone affected approximately 300 million people around the world and this disturbing trend shows no signs of reversing or even slowing.
The causes of this chronic disease aren’t exactly known, however it is believed to be the result of both environmental conditions and genetic predisposition of the individual afflicted with it. Pollens, dust, dry air, humid air, and pollution are thought to be prime factors in contracting an attack. The characteristics identified with asthma are spasms within the bronchial tubes, and difficulty in drawing air into the lungs. Some of the symptoms typical of an asthmatic attack are a tightness in the chest, a shallow breath, coughing and wheezing. It is given a specification within the asthmatic class in accordance with the recurring number of symptoms and how much air is exhaled in the span of one second (this is known medically as FEV1, or Forced Expiratory Volume) and the exhalation rate of flow at its maximum. As well, the disease can be identified as either extrinsic (atopic) or intrinsic (non – atopic).
As mentioned above, it is believed that this chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes is caused in part by environmental conditions. It follows, thus that the means by which to reduce the possibility of contracting an asthmatic attack is by taking precautions against breathing in the environmental triggers the likes of which are pollens, exhaust and dust to name only a few such irritants. In spite of the large number of deaths attributed to asthma, (a quarter of a million world-wide in 2009 alone) the better control and treatment of asthma and using a method to slowly degrade the symptoms, the outlook is favourable in terms of reducing deaths and the severe effects of asthma. The treatment of the symptoms of asthma as wheezing, coughing, chest constriction and low air intake is with a short response beta 2 agonist ( salbutamol for example is an excellent inhaler) and careful monitoring of environmental conditions.