What happens in Asthma? (Pathogenesis)
There is a decrease in the lumen of the air ways resulting from a two fold response to the allergens and other irritants.
Primarily in a hyper reactive response, the smooth muscles in the airways constrict and narrow excessively. Followed by an inflammatory response where the immune system responds to the allergens by sending white blood cells and other immune factors to the airways. These inflammatory factors cause a swelling of the airways and also an increase in the mucus secretion thus causing symptoms like wheezing, cough and shortness of breath.
Children aged 2-12 years reported higher rates of asthma (15.7%) than adults aged 16 years and over (10.1%). In males, the prevalence of asthma was highest among children aged 2-12 years; in females, prevalence was highest among young adults aged 16-24 years. Asthma is also closely linked to allergies. Most, but not all, people with asthma have allergies. Children with a family history of allergy and asthma are more likely to have asthma.
The most common symptoms are
Difficulty in breathing
The most important and distressing symptom is the breathlessness or sense of suffocation, which may be of varying intensity. Some patients may not have cough or mucus production (expectoration) at all.
The symptoms of asthma may be
- Periodical (once in a a week to once in a year)
Seasonal (a few weeks in a year)
Continuous (all throughout or most of the time)
The symptoms might get triggered by one or more of the following:
a. Physical exertion
b. Change in weather or temperature
d. Mental stress
e. Exposure to pollution (dust, chemical, pollen, etc.)
f. Without any apparent reason
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