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16 December 2017 |


  Asthma


Asthma is among the most common non contagious diseases, which causes problems for all ages, from infancy to old age and Iranians are not excluded from this.


 Asthma is among the most common non contagious diseases, which causes problems for all ages, from infancy to old age and Iranians are not excluded from this.

Asthma can be controlled by simple trainings and by employing simple strategies the suffering of patients can be reduced. Finally it released the country from large spending in the incidence of asthma attacks, absence of patients from work and social activities.

To achieve this goal, the Management Center of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Society of Asthma and Allergy has made an effort to form a national committee from 1378 and of the activities of this committee is to prepare educational materials. The information below is quoted from this committee:

What is asthma?

Asthma is a serious and chronic lung disease and often accompanied by inflammation of the airways and may cause breathing problems. Chronic means the disease always exists even when the patient is not feeling sick. In the case of irritating the airways of patients with asthma, the symptoms of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness appears and natural and comfortable breathing is difficult for the patient.

Asthma is an important issue in public health. More than 150 million people worldwide, including a significant number of people in Iran are suffering from this disease.

Asthma causes high costs of the disease, reducing the efficiency and useful activities, Inability of patients to continue a normal life in their families. The prevalence of asthma, especially in children and the developing cities is increasing. Some factors affecting the incidence of these problems include reduced conditioning in new houses, contact materials (allergens) in closed environments (such as wool carpets and pets, especially cats), cigarette smoke, viral infections, , air pollution, chemical stimuli, the use of synthetic materials (paints, flavors and essences) in foods and increasing stress in everyday life.

How does asthma affect society?

Our society may pay the considerable expenses for uncontrolled asthma. Individuals and families may spend unnecessary and much expenses, time and energy for emergency care or hospitalization of patients. When people suffering from asthma control their disease, the whole community benefit from reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency. Approximately five percent of all people suffer from asthma, and if a society is in urban development, this proportion may be higher.

Available Information about the causes of asthma, as well as new methods of treatment and long-term prevention of asthma attacks, leads us to look with new insight into the disease.

Chronic inflammation is in the airways of patients with asthma. This causes the appearance of symptoms of asthma, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and the tightness of the chest. Asthma symptoms are recurrent and may last from several minutes to several days. Asthma attacks may be mild or severe and sometimes fatal. Medical care is often required for severe attacks.

Who suffer from asthma?

Asthma often occurs in families with a positive family history. This disease can occur at any age. Asthma is not a contagious disease. Many Olympic athletes and famous people, suffer from the disease. Thus, people with asthma can simultaneously have a successful life.

The exact and main cause of asthma is still unclear; but what has become clear shows that some people, especially infants with a positive history of allergy (sensitivity) in the family, when exposed to tobacco smoke, pollen and mold or other Allergens (such as pets, mites and beetles) have a greater chance of developing asthma. Some of the workers have asthma after exposure to inhalational chemical irritants.

Can asthma be prevented?

Asthma attacks can be prevented. But to prove whether or not the disease is preventable, more studies should be performed. However, avoiding from contact with allergens and environmental irritants, helps to prevent the development of asthma. It has not been yet identified a solution to eradicate asthma.

The disease can be treated and controlled in a way that will prevent symptoms and attacks. Living with asthma is often without trouble.

Most children with this disease, by increasing their age, will have fewer symptoms. Although some of these symptoms may remain constant or even more but this is definitely not possible to predict. Asthma is a long-term disease, of course can be controlled.

How is asthma control?

Asthma is a chronic disease; the patient usually requires a continuous and regular medical care. Patients with moderate to severe asthma can control the inflammation of their airways on a daily basis using long-acting drugs that is recommended by a physician and thereby prevent the disease's symptoms and attacks. In the case of the appearance of symptoms, drugs that work fast (such as inhalational) are used to relieve them.

All patients with asthma should choose an informed and aware doctor in the field of asthma as a treating physician and long-term consultant. The doctor and the patient together will conduct a specific program for drugs consumption, avoiding asthma attack triggering factors, and treatment processes in case of attack. Following this plan, balancing, and making changes when necessary may be a planning for a lifetime.

Drugs are not the only way to control asthma. Avoiding irritating and annoying factors that cause inflammation of the airways and worsen asthma, are also important. These triggering factors are called asthma. Every patient should know the ways of avoiding triggering factors of his/her own disease and act to them. There are different ways that parents can reduce their children’s disease through them. One can prevent onset of asthma attacks by recognizing and avoiding the contact of his children with the factors that trigger asthma symptoms, and in this regard ask his doctor to help him in detection and prevention of nuisance and stimulating factors.

A typical asthma attacks triggering factors and symptoms and ways to avoid them

-Animals’ irritating factors: Pets should go out of the house and the use of a pillow or mattress full of feather and wool should be avoided.

- The mites which are present in house dust. Mites are microscopic arthropods (Length of about 1.0 mm in size) that are not seen with the naked eye. For this purpose it is necessary that pillows and mattresses be wrapped in impenetrable coatings (e.g. plastic). All bed linens should be washed once a week in hot water (55 ° C).

The humidity of home and indoors be decreased and less than 50%. Not using of carpet as a floor covering if possible.

-Pollens and aerobic molds: the windows should be closed during pollination seasons.

To avoid proliferation of mold sources such as wet leaves and garden waste, and use of ventilation, if it is possible.

Cigarette smoke: Cigarette smoke which contains hundreds of chemicals and toxic substances is one of the stimulating and triggering factors of asthma attacks. So it is recommended not to smoke if the person suffers from asthma. No one is allowed to smoke in the house.

 Child nutrition and food allergens: Breast feeding of infants up to 6 months, is one of the most important ways to prevent the occurrence of asthma and allergies. Observing of medical and health recommendations on infant feeding, and not using of allergens (Such as egg, fish, milk, wheat products, soya, nuts, citrus, etc.) helps in preventing asthma at the beginning of supplementary feeding of infants.

What is the significance of asthma during pregnancy?

·        Symptoms of asthma in pregnant women may be intensified. The most likely time for aggravation of asthma symptoms is during the last weeks of pregnancy. One should not forget that in the absence of adequate control of the disease, the health of both the mother and the infant is threatened. So it is recommended that:

If there is a history of asthma, the pregnant woman discusses this with her doctor, midwife or nurse.

To have periodically repeated examinations during pregnancy to ensure their own health and the fetuses’ health.

To consult with their doctors about continuing their previous drugs.

To use prescribed drugs for asthma by the physician during pregnancy with the recommended treatment program.

Often taking certain drugs for the treatment of asthma during pregnancy is without risk.

What can be expected from asthma treatment plan?

Those who follow their asthma treatment plan can have an active life and live with joy and without annoying asthma symptoms.

The asthma treatment reduces economic, social and family losses arising from it.

With proper treatment, most patients with asthma will be able to:

Have normal activities without asthma symptoms.

Have normal sleep without asthma symptoms of night.

Prevent asthma attacks.

Can increase the registered number of the breath timer (peak flow-meter) to a higher level.

Is new and suitable asthma treatment available in our society?

There are various and effective drugs for asthma which are chosen by physicians according to the type and severity of the disease. Some new drugs are expensive but due to good effect, prevents hospitalization of patient which has high costs.

Since prevention and treatment programs because of saving in delayed treatment costs, it is beneficial for patients not to be late in implementation and following them.

Since asthma is related to all age and occupational groups of society, the attempt to identify and solve problems resulting from it require the help of everybody. And it is essential that doctors, nurses, teachers, health workers and patients work together to implement programs for the prevention and treatment of asthma. Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, are the most common clinical signs of asthma. Also the decrease in the recorded number by the breath-timer, Progressive worsening of cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, or the feeling of chest tightness, and any difficulty in breathing are warning signs of an asthma attack.

The breath-timer or peak flow meter is a scaled device that the patient uses it to measure his breathing on a daily basis after being trained by his physician. And records the number of his expiratory pressure on a piece of paper. Daily measuring and recording of expiratory pressure help to better control of asthma and prevention of severe attacks and Hospitalization.

It must be told that asthma is a non-contagious disease. There is no contraindication of exercising for a patient with asthma in terms of controlling disease. Anti-asthma drugs are not addictive. Doing the physician’s recommendation and use of prescribed medicines and treatment is essential for treatment success. Antitussive drugs are harmful for patients with asthma and urging of patient in prescribing them is not correct.

What medications are used to treat asthma?

Two types of drugs are used to treat asthma; Bronchodilator drugs are the drugs which relax constricted muscles of airways and in this way reduce or eliminate the symptoms of asthma, especially during an acute attack. Anti-inflammatory drugs are those drugs reduce swelling and inflammation of the airways and in this way reduce asthma symptoms. These drugs have an important role in the prevention of asthma symptoms and attacks.

Asthma has significant differences among patients with asthma. Initiating and aggravating factors may be different in each case. So the diagnosis of the type and severity of asthma in a patient and appropriate drug selection requires careful examination by the physician. Treatment program and appropriate drug are determined by the doctor. And only by doing the instructions recommended by the doctor, we can expect controlling of the disease and resolving of symptoms.

Are asthma medications uncomplicated?

Prescribed medications for asthma have usually no significant side effects provided that appropriate and timely use takes place. Some people are worried about addiction and dependency on asthma drugs. Such a belief is not right and scientific. To prevent the occurrence of complications, it is necessary to take medicines in a way that the doctor has prescribed them. And in the case of any complications or problems, the doctor should be aware of.

The patient himself should not increase or decrease the use of drug.

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