Bronchial asthma, commonly called asthma, consists of repeated attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. When the patient is not in an attack, he feels normal. When an asthma patient comes in contact with an allergic substance, it behaves, as an antigen and reacts with the corresponding antibodies already present in his body. The histamine and other substances liberated during the allergic reactions cause the following changes in the bronchi:
There are several conditions, which cannot be asthma, but some symptoms are same. Here is a difference :
If asthma is caused or, at least, suspected by some allergen, try to find out as to which of the allergens is the real causative factor and also what and when symptoms surfaced first; in which seasons symptoms aggravated. It is quite necessary to take a detailed history of the patient; taking into account the said points. One would be expected to undergo the following tests with the advise of a specialist.
Asthma is of mainly of following kinds :
This type of asthma develops due to some pre-existing disease, like disease of the being due to certain part infection or existing disease like bronchitis. Such type of patients do not benefit from or respond to anti-allergic treatment and, thus, not easy to manage and control due to non-response factor. This variety occurs mostly in advance age.
Pollens occur in the powder-like substance seen in some of the flowers. Pollen grains are very small in size. In a majority of cases, they are yellow in colour.
Only some of the pollens cause asthma. Out of thousands of different pollens, only about a hundred are known to cause this disease. A plant must have the following characteristic features before its pollens can be suspected of being the cause.
We have, over the years, seen many cases of asthma having their symptoms only during the Diwali season. Our investigations have shown that it is not the Diwali weather which is detrimental , to the health of these people. It is the customary cleaning of the house among north Indians at this time which raises so much dust that those who are allergic to it, experience symptoms of asthma.
Henry Hyde Salter has provided the first accurate description of the attacks of asthma on exposure to a cat.
The cause of this asthma is the proximity of a common domestic cat; the symptoms are very similar to those of hay fever, and, as in the case of hay fever, are occasioned by some sudden influence inappreciable by the sense. I cannot recollect at what time I first became subject to the cat asthma, but I believe the susceptibility has existed from the earliest period of life.
Insect bites normally cause pain and swelling. This is due to the effect of the venom. The degree of reaction produced depends upon the type and quantity of venom introduced. But in some people the venom acts as an antigen and, with the antibodies already present, causes an allergic reaction.
During the rainy season, all of us have noticed that if bread is left unused for a few days, a green fibrous growth appears on it; this happens also if a pair of shoes is left unused for a few days in the same weather. These fibrous growths, which appear in humid weather, are moulds or fungi.
Bronchial asthma is a common condition; it is estimated that roughly one per cent of the world population have bronchial asthma. Its incidence is a little more in boys than in girls; in adult life, this difference disapperrs. Incidence is high or even slighty more, in the upper income groups than in the lower.