On World Asthma Day let’s learn about asthma–a common respiratory disease that many of have to suffer at the hands of. In fact, studies point out that one out of every 10 patients with asthma lives in India. Given that there are over 300 million people suffering from asthma, that’s quite a big number.
When it comes to the management of this disease, it becomes important to understand the triggers of asthma and take relevant precautions. Here, director and head of Pulmonology, Pulmonary Critical Care Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, Dr. Manoj Goel reveals some triggers that asthma patients need to vary of:
What are the external triggers of asthma?
For many people, pollen in the atmosphere is a major trigger, but that, unfortunately, is unavoidable. In order to prevent an asthma attack triggered by pollen, Dr Goel recommends using preventive inhalers as per doctor’s advice.
He also suggests identifying triggers that can be at home or work. Triggers, like:
1. Tobacco smoke, which generates oxidative stress and has an inflammatory effect on the lungs. This increases airway obstruction and accelerates the normal annual decline in lung function. Dr Goel suggests that even secondhand smoke inhalation can trigger asthma.
2. Air pollution is another one to look out for. Outside your homes, air pollution is caused by traffic and uncontrolled industrialization, and is visible as smoke or smog.
But indoor air pollutants can be equally damaging, and they include: paints, adhesives, flooring chemicals, cleaning products, combustion products from cooking and heaters, and mosquito coils. They all can trigger asthma.
3. Dust mites are third on the list, according to Dr Goel. These tiny bugs found in corners of each home are triggers for chronic persistent asthma. You can cut their exposure by avoiding carpets and soft toys at home, and washing your pillow covers and bed linens with warm water regularly.
4. Psychosocial factors can trigger asthma too. Stress, anxiety, childhood adverse events, and depression can become risk factors for triggering asthma.
5. Viral infections, linked to influenza or the respiratory syncytial virus, can trigger asthma. The use of antiflu vaccinations (upon your doctor’s advice) in this case can help.
6. Certain drugs like beta-blockers, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen can trigger asthma too.
So, what are some precautions people with asthma can take?
Dr Goel suggests making your home asthma-trigger free. For that, he recommends regular cleaning of conditioners and coolers and eliminating any and all mold.
He also suggests that obesity is linked to increasing the risk of uncontrolled asthma since it causes low-grade inflammation and resultant oxidative stress. Dr Goel says that studies show weight loss helps in significant improvement in asthma control and creates a higher symptomatic remission rate.
Prevention is always better than cure. If you’re suffering from asthma educating yourself of your possible triggers and taking steps towards reducing and controlling it is of utmost importance.
(With inputs from IANS)