Asthma is a very painful disease. Some reports show that almost a third of all asthma cases today are due to pollution. There are two main stages of asthma – one is the hyperactive response and the second is the inflammatory response. In the first stage, the airway constricts and creates a choking sensation following an allergen or trigger for asthma. In the second stage, the immune system of the body reacts to form thick mucus and swelling of the airways. As a result, there is pronounced distress to the patient.
Chronic asthma is the asthma that responds only temporarily to treatment. What happens when an asthma attacks occurs? Let us suppose that a person inhales some irritant all of a sudden. The reaction of a healthy body comes in two stages – one, the airway immediately constricts to prevent the irritant getting too deep in the lungs. In the second stage, the airway relaxes so the irritant can be expelled effectively.
In an asthmatic person, the first stage is the same as in the healthy person. In the second stage however, the airway instead of relaxing to expel, suddenly constricts further provoking acute breathlessness and respiratory distress. In ordinary asthma, an inhaler would immediately give relief. However, in chromic asthma, it would take continuous and prolonged intervention before one gets slight relief. In this case, it is very easy for the patient to become serious even at the slightest stimuli.
Some of the triggers/ stimuli that can trigger an attack in patients of chronic asthma are, dust, pollen, exercise, cold air, stress, sudden emotion, sudden scare and so on. It is very difficult to control chronic asthma as compared to the normal asthma. The treatment of the ordinary asthma is relatively easy and relief is fast. On the other hand, patients suffering from chronic asthma will find it very difficult to stabilize once the attack commences. Hence, the best policy here would be to prevent attacks by carefully identifying all the allergens that may trigger an attack and avoiding them at all costs.
It is advisable for these patients to wear a tag with instructions of what can be done if an attack renders them helpless. The card should also have the phone numbers of someone who could be contacted in such a case, and/ or the hospital where the patinet’s doctor practices.