Education about the causes and development of asthma is very important, because many adults and children are affected by this incurable respiratory disease - with far-reaching effects on well-being, performance and quality of life. Learning the right way to manage this respiratory disease can be life-saving for those already affected. But how can the risk of developing asthma in the first place be minimized? Many people do not know, for example, that an allergy is a potential asthma hazard. Since allergies are now considered the number one widespread disease and are still on the rise, it can be assumed that the number of asthma cases will also continue to increase.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract with persistent hypersensitivity to stimuli, which leads to attacks of breathlessness via a narrowing of the bronchi. Symptomatic of bronchial asthma are also coughing and whistling breath sounds. There are both allergic and non-allergic forms of asthma. Allergic asthma, together with hay fever and neurodermatitis, is one of the diseases of the atopic form, which is characterised by an overreaction of the immune system to external stimuli. In allergic asthma, the asthma attack is triggered by an allergic reaction on contact with allergens. The respiratory tract reacts with a strong defence against actually harmless substances, the respiratory muscles tense up and the respiratory tract reacts with the secretion of viscous mucus. With a proportion of approx. 80 percent, allergy-related asthma accounts for the majority of all asthma diseases.
An allergic reaction can occur to various allergens in the air we breathe:
- Faeces of house dust mites
- Animal hair
- Bird feathers
- Chemical solvents
The disease often manifests itself in childhood and adolescence. Studies show that about one third of the children who suffer from hay fever when they enter school later develop allergic bronchial asthma. Furthermore, an average of 40 percent of untreated allergy sufferers develop chronic asthma after eight years. An allergic rhinitis is usually the beginning of a dangerous development and can pass to the bronchial tubes with the so-called change of levels. The disease then spreads from the upper to the lower airways and can lead to chronic bronchial asthma. In order to prevent the change of levels and thus an asthma illness, an allergy should be detected early and treated accordingly.
Asthma is not curable. Once ill, the person affected will learn to live with his or her illness with a lifelong therapy tailored to his or her needs, consisting of medication, physical training and breathing techniques - with the aim of remaining as free of symptoms and as productive as possible.
To prevent asthma from developing in the first place, it is important to take allergic symptoms seriously and to consult a doctor in good time if there is any suspicion. If an allergy is diagnosed, the first and most important therapeutic measure is to avoid allergens. The less the allergy sufferer comes into contact with the allergen causing the complaint, the less the immune system and respiratory tract are provoked. In some cases, a temporary drug therapy can help to alleviate the symptoms. In addition to the leave of absence, specific immunotherapy (hyposensitization) may be appropriate in persons with a severe allergic reaction to treat the allergy and prevent bronchial asthma. This therapy attempts to make the immune system more tolerant of the allergen, which can reduce the allergy symptoms.
In the case of a house dust mite allergy, for example, allergy bedding products such as dust mite covers effectively protect the patient at night from breathing in the mite allergens that cause illness. Due to their impermeability to allergens, they are ideally suited for mite allergy treatment and asthma prevention. Through further, easy to carry out measures in the living environment, the allergen exposure and asthma risk from house dust mites can be reduced to a tolerable level overall.
For hay fever, pollen screens at the window and a pollen filter in the car are helpful. Daily hair washing is recommended, as is taking off clothes outside the bedroom to reduce the exposure to pollen brought in from outside.
Unfortunately, if you have an allergy to animal hair, the only thing that helps is to give your beloved pet into other hands to avoid the risk of bronchial asthma.