Dr. Siri Kamath

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease characterized by airway constriction, inflammation, and increased sensitivity to specific triggers. This leads to recurrent wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.


Causes of Asthma:

1. Genetic Factors: A family history of asthma increases the likelihood of developing the condition.

2. Environmental Factors: Exposure to irritants like pollen, dust mites, mould, pet dander, and air pollution can trigger asthma symptoms.

3. Occupational Exposures: Certain workplace environments may contribute to the development or exacerbation of asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma:

1. Wheezing: A whistling or hissing sound during breathing.

2. Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activities.

3. Chest Tightness: A feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest.

4. Coughing: Frequently more severe during the night or early morning.

Triggers for Asthma Attacks:

1. Irritants: Pollen, dust, mould, pet dander.

2. Respiratory Infections: Viral infections can exacerbate asthma symptoms.

3. Physical Activity: Exercise-induced asthma can be a trigger.

4. Airborne Aggravators: Smoke, air pollution, strong odours.

Complications of Untreated Asthma:

1. Reduced Lung Function: Untreated asthma can gradually decline lung function over time.

2. Severe Asthma Attacks: Prolonged exposure to triggers may result in life-threatening asthma attacks.

3. Impact on Daily Life: Persistent symptoms can interfere with daily activities and quality of life.

Managing Asthma:

1. Controller Medications: Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators to control inflammation and prevent symptoms.

2. Quick-Relief (Rescue) Medications: Short-acting bronchodilators to provide rapid relief during asthma attacks.

3. Trigger Avoidance: Identifying and avoiding triggers through lifestyle modifications.

4. Regular Monitoring: Keeping track of symptoms and peak flow measurements for early detection of worsening asthma.


Understanding asthma and its triggers and adopting a proactive approach to management is crucial for individuals with this condition. Collaboration with healthcare providers, adherence to prescribed medications, and lifestyle adjustments empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives while effectively managing asthma. Regular check-ups and an individualized asthma action plan contribute to long-term respiratory health and well-being.

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