The asthmatic disorder is a chronic (recurring) inflammatory condition in which the airways develop increased responsiveness to various. stimuli, characterized repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and cough that is at least partly reversible, either spontaneously or with treatment. It is thought that inflammation causes an increase in airway responsiveness (broncho- spasm) to a variety of stimuli. Some of these stimuli would have little or no effect on non-asthmatics with normal airways. Many cells play a role in the inflammatory response.
Asthma causes narrowing of airways and broncho-spasm. Airway narrowing process basically involves :
This narrowing of airways causes symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, which respond to bronchodilators (medicines).
People with asthma have extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways. The airways react by narrowing when they become irritated (by asthma triggers). This makes it difficult for the air to move in and out of the lungs.
Asthma often occurs in episodes called asthma attacks. An asthma attack is usually caused by triggers or changes in the environment. Common triggers include infections, changes in the weather, exercise, allergens and irritants in the environment.
Asthma has such a wide spectrum of predisposing factors and clinical presentations that there is no uniform classification. Based on the severity of symptoms, it is categorized into mild intermittent, moderate and severe.
Other clinical categories include steroid-dependent, steroid- resistant, difficult, and brittle asthma. Typically, asthma is categorized into
Other informal categories classify asthma according to the agents or events that trigger broncho-constriction. These include seasonal, exercise-induced, drug-induced, and occupational asthma and asthmatic bronchitis in smokers. Allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis, which may complicate asthma, is partly an allergic reaction to fungus that has called colonized the bronchial mucosa.
Inhalation of allergen rapidly interact with mucosal mast cells results in increase of histamine and cysteinyl leukotrienes which leads to broncho-constriction. Airflow is restricted by narrowing of airways. This narrowing occurs due to irritation of the bronchial walls, which leads to swelling of the lining of the bronchi and to the secretion of mucus. During respiratory distress asthmatics use the accessory muscles of respiration. This panicking act makes breathing even more difficult.
During an asthma episode, inflammed airways react to environmental triggers such as smoke, dust or pollen. The airways narrow and produce excess mucus, making it difficult to breathe.
The airways of asthma patients are hypersensitive to certain triggers. In response to exposure to these triggers, the bronchi (large airways) contract into spasm (asthma attack). Inflammation soon follows, leading to a further narrowing of the airways and excessive mucus production, which leads to coughing and other breathing difficulties.
Bronchial asthma triggers may include :
The role of Yoga in the management of Bronchial asthma is well documented now. Aim of the treatment in Asthma should be to prevent the broncho-constriction and to tackle the triggering factors.
Last Modified : 8/31/2023