What causes asthma? Understanding difficulty breathing - Bansal Hospital Bhopal

What causes asthma? Understanding difficulty breathing

What Causes Asthma Understanding Difficulty Breathing

Difficulty breathing can be tough to handle and make you feel like you’re dying, but having this constant feeling for a prolonged period indicates possible disease. One such condition that makes it harder to breathe and causes other complications is Asthma. Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airway of the lungs. This can make physical activity difficult or even impossible. 

To understand what is Asthma, it is essential to understand breathing patterns. When we breathe air goes through the mouth or the nose, passing through your throat to the airways and then to your lungs. The small air passages help transport oxygen to your bloodstream.

Asthma symptoms show up when the lining of your airway swells or becomes inflamed, muscles tighten, and produce extra mucus, filling the airway with mucus, resulting in a reduction of air that can pass through. This condition can bring Asthma attacks. 

Causes of asthma

Many people don’t develop asthma till they are adults, no cause has been identified but researchers believe asthma is triggered or associated with various factors. 

  1. Genetics– Genetics play a major role in the development of asthma, if your parents had it, you are more likely to develop asthma. 
  2. Viral Infections in the past– Having a history of viral infections in the past can trigger asthma. 
  3. Hygiene hypothesis– During the early months of babies when they aren’t exposed to enough bacteria, their immune system doesn’t become strong enough leading to asthma and other allergic conditions. 

Triggers for asthma can vary from person to person but below are mentioned some of the most common triggers. 

  1. Respiratory infections
  2. environmental irritants
  3. Intense emotions
  4. Intense weather conditions 
  5. Pests
  6. Allergens 
  7. Exercise
  8. Certain Medications

Symptoms of asthma

The early and common signs of Asthma include: 

  1. Wheezing or whistling sound while breathing
  2. Coughing during the night and while doing some physical activity 
  3. Chest tightness
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Difficulty talking
  6. Panic and anxiousness
  7. Fatigue 
  8. Chest pain
  9. Rapid breathing
  10. Frequent infections
  11. Difficulty sleeping. 

Symptoms vary from person to person, the symptoms can last throughout the day, or performing certain activities may worsen the symptoms. Not everyone experiences these symptoms. If you are such symptoms it could be a sign of Asthma. 

Symptoms in case of emergency include 

  1. Severe difficulty breathing 
  2. Confusion
  3. Pale fingernails and lips
  4. Dizziness
  5. Difficulty talking and waiting
  6. Blue lips and fingernails.

Diagnosis of asthma 

There is no precise test for identifying asthma so the doctor uses certain measures to identify the condition among their patients, such as the family history or history of breathing disorder in the family indicates chances of asthma. With this, the doctor will examine with a physical exam or a Pulmonary Function Test. Doctors don’t perform tests on children under the age of 5 rather they prescribe medications and wait for the medications to show improvement, if there is some improvement the child is likely to have asthma. 

Treatments for asthma

Asthma treatments include

  1. Quick relief from medications
  2. Long-term medications
  3. Combination of both quick relief and long-term medications
  4. Biologics which are given in the severe form of asthma. 
  5. The treatment depends on the severity of the condition, age, and the type of asthma you have. 
  6. The treatment also uses Bronchial Thermoplasty

Asthma: How do the cases rise in winter?

The cases of asthma attacks rise during the winter season or when there is a sudden change in the season. The dry wind and cold air can trigger asthma attacks. Cold weather asthma can contribute to excessive mucus production, irritated airways, and other respiratory conditions. There has been a 15% rise in hospital cases related to asthma and cold weather, especially in children. 

What is an asthma attack? 

An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms get worse and is known as exacerbation, the airways become swollen and the bronchial tubes become narrowed leading to difficulty breathing. The attack is undoubtedly life-threatening and requires immediate doctor consultation. 

Asthma attack symptoms include

  1. Hyperventilation
  2. Cough 
  3. Wheezing
  4. Blue lips 
  5. Increased heart rates
  6. Agitation
  7. Confusion
  8. Shortness of breath

Prevention of asthma 

Below are points to remember to prevent asthma attacks from occurring.

  1. Avoiding places that have caused breathing problems in the past such as chemicals, smells, or certain products. 
  2. Identifying allergens and avoiding them such as dust or mold. 
  3. Another way is by treating asthma with the help of allergen immunotherapy, by taking routine shots the body becomes less sensitive to triggers. 
  4. Taking preventive medications that are prescribed by the doctor for an emergency. 

Asthma attacks can be managed by having a healthy diet, maintaining the required weight, quitting smoking, exercising on a daily basis, and managing stress. 

Bansal Hospital Bhopal provides vital healthcare services to its patients. The department of pulmonary medicine gives special attention to the needs of the patients and especially children who are dealing with life-threatening conditions like asthma. The multispeciality hospital aims to provide special care and support to the people by providing services across all domains of health. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Ans. When you don’t have an inhaler during an asthma attack, you can do the following things.

  1. Sitting straight up can open airways
  2. Slow down your breaths
  3. Staying calm
  4. Moving away from the trigger
  5. Drinking caffeinated beverages 
  6. And seeking urgent medical help if you can’t get the attack under control.


Ans. When someone around you has an asthma attack, you can do the following things to curtail it. 

  1. Sit them straight
  2. Help them slow down their breath
  3. Move them away from the trigger
  4. Provide them with an inhaler
  5. Call a doctor if it doesn’t get better. 


Ans. Asthma can be flared up due to a variety of reasons such as viruses, exposure to allergens, exercise, food, pollution, and cold air. 

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