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Eight most frequently asked questions about asthma| World Asthma Day

Updated: May 11, 2022 Print
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The 24th World Asthma Day fell on May 3, 2022, with the theme of "Closing Gaps in Asthma Care".

The theme of World Asthma Day was put forward to call for global cooperation by respiratory practitioners, asthmatic patients and their family members to close any gaps in asthma care. By promoting feasible and applicable asthma care plans and methods in regional areas and around the world, it aims to reduce the pain caused by asthma and the cost of medical treatment in order to enable every asthmatic patient breathe smoothly and live normally.

Currently, the gaps in asthma care are found in:
1.Access to equal diagnosis and treatment. There are gaps in asthma care between different social statuses, economic levels, races and ages as well as in rich and poor areas and different countries.

2.Communication and asthma care at different medical institutions.

3.Knowledge and cognition of asthma among medical staff.

1.What are the causes of asthma?
Asthma is caused by a mix of hereditary and environmental factors. About 60 to 70 percent of asthmatic patients suffer from allergic asthma.

(1)People vulnerable to asthma generally have genetic factors. People with allergic diseases have a genetic predisposition of 25 to 50 percent to suffer from asthma.

(2)The environmental factors that cause asthma include allergens, namely various specific and nonspecific inhalants such as dust mites, pollens and animals with soft skin coverings; chemical substances such as sulfur dioxide, ammonia gas and paint; food such as fish, shrimps, crabs, eggs and milk; medicine such as aspirin; and environmental pollution such as smog and haze.

2.Characteristics of asthma
Most asthmatic patients have allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, eczema or urticaria. The characteristics of asthma include:
(1)Asthma is aggravated by inducing factors.

(2)Asthma usually occurs or aggravates at night and in the early morning.

(3)Asthma usually occurs or aggravates in spring or autumn and winter.

3.Symptoms of asthma
The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and coughing. Asthma usually occurs at night and in the early morning, which is caused by allergen, cold air, physical and chemical stimulation as well as upper respiratory infection and doing sports. These symptoms can be relieved through treatment.

4.Which symptoms have nothing to do with asthma?
(1)Wheezing and shortness of breath caused by cardiac insufficiency, which usually aggravates at night when lying on the back and alleviates when sitting down and having a rest. These patients usually have basic heart diseases such as hypertension and coronary heart disease.

(2)Wheezing and shortness of breath caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which aggravates after doing sports and alleviates after sitting down and having a rest. These patients have a previous history of cigarette smoking or biofuel exposure.

(3)Wheezing and shortness of breath caused by acute/chronic pulmonary embolism, which aggravates after doing sports. Most patients have varicose veins in the lower limbs or have a habit of sitting for a long time or have been bedridden after surgery.

5.Who is vulnerable to asthma?
People whose parents or relatives have asthma or allergic rhinitis or other allergic diseases have 25 to 50 percent of genetic predisposition to develop asthma. People with allergies have increased risks of allergic reactions or suffering from allergic diseases. For example, people with eczema, food allergy, skin sensibility and drug allergy can more easily get asthma.

People with long exposure to various allergens, such as pollen, pets, dust mites and mycetes.

People who are engaged in such jobs as cleaners, painters and textile processing workers.

6.What should asthma patients pay attention to?
People at a high risk need to pay special attention to the symptoms of allergic diseases for early detection and treatment.

It is suggested that asthma patients should test for allergens in order to know the allergenic substances to them and avoid contacting them. It can postpone disease progression and relieve the severity of asthma.

Patients with allergic rhinitis should take proactive treatment to postpone the disease to develop into asthma.

Asthma patients should have standard treatment to avoid the aggravation of asthma and reduce hospitalizations or deaths.

7.How to identify acute asthma?
Any one or more of the following symptoms indicate asthma is aggravating:
Aggravation of wheezing

Increased frequency of wheezing and shortness of breath

Obvious shortness of breath

Accelerated heart rate

Blue lips or fingernails

Difficulty in talking

Fast breathing

Confusion and dizziness

8.How to deal with an acute asthma attack?
When asthma symptoms are aggravated, patients and their family members should master the basic treatment methods.
Patients should immediately inhale a fast-acting bronchodilator in an acute asthma attack, first taking 2 to 4 sprays. If wheezing and shortness of breath can’t be alleviated, patients should inhale 2 to 4 sprays after 20 minutes. At the same time, emergency help should be called for and patients should go to hospital for further treatment.

Family members or companions should help patients to sit up with their bodies lean forward slightly and ensure they inhale plenty of fresh air. Take oxygen inhalation when necessary. Family members or companions should quickly prepare medicine and inhalation devices for patients and help them inhale 2 to 4 sprays of bronchodilator. If the patients have moderate or severe asthma symptoms, family members or companions should help them inhale 2 to 4 sprays of bronchodilator first and then take them to hospital for treatment.

Family members or companions should comfort patients to ease their nervousness, assist them with sputum discharge, guide them to breathe, help them to take hormone drugs quickly if necessary in order to alleviate symptoms and take them to hospital for treatment as soon as possible.

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