Causes, symptoms and treatment of Asthma

Bronchial Asthma

Causes, symptoms and treatment of ASTHMA

What is Bronchial Asthma?

Bronchial Asthma (Asthma) is a chronic (long-lasting) disease of the airway (Bronchus).

In bronchial asthma, the airway is hypersensitive (very sensitive) to allergens (Triggers producing allergy) and becomes narrow, thereby producing difficulty in breathing, cough and wheeze.

What causes Bronchial Asthma?

Bronchial Asthma can be due to Hereditary (Familial), Allergic or Seasonal.

The Triggers are the allergy to food, dust, smoke, pollen, cotton dust, perfumes, sprays, paint smell, pet’s hair, firecrackers, cooking smell, air pollution, etc…

Bronchial Asthma can also be triggered by infections like cold and flu, exercise, cold air, extreme changes in climates, emotional stress, anxiety, drugs like pain killers (NSAID) and beta blockers.

The acidity of the stomach (gastritis-acid reflux) can also trigger Asthma.

What happens to the airway in Bronchial Asthma?

Normal Airway                                    Bronchial Asthma

When the patient’s airway is exposed to triggers producing bronchial asthma, the following changes happen.

The airway becomes narrow due to bronchoconstriction (muscles of airway becomes tight).

The cells of the mucous membrane of the airway swell up. (Inflammation) and there is increased secretion of mucous inside the airway.

So the airway becomes very narrow and air passes through with difficulty. As the air passes through the narrow gap it produces a whistling sound called wheeze.

What are the Signs and symptoms of Bronchial asthma?

The Bronchial Asthma patient may have cough with or without wheeze, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest and may have chest pain.

What are the investigations for bronchial asthma?

The main investigation is Pulmonary Function Test. Spirometry is the PFT done. If the forced expiratory volume in 1 second is less than 80% of the normal value it shows airway obstruction.

The test is repeated after giving inhaled bronchodilators (medicine to widen airways) and if there is an improvement for more than 12% (reversibility) it is bronchial asthma.

Other tests done are X-ray chest, Arterial blood gas analysis (ABG), Blood oxygen saturation, Sputum examination and culture, White blood eosinophil count, Blood immunoglobulin E level etc…

What is the treatment for Bronchial Asthma?

For acute and severe asthma ( acute Exacerbation) hospitalization with oxygen support is necessary.

For milder form Bronchodilators ( Relievers) like salbutamol, theophylline, terbutaline or doxophylline can be given. These drugs widen the narrow airways.

Steroids( Preventers) like fluticasone or budesonide can be given to reduce swelling and mucous secretions. Other drugs like anticholinergics, montelukast, cromoglicate and anti-allergy medications can be given.

Inhalation Therapy is the best form of drug administration in bronchial asthma. Normally one Reliever and one preventer are given as inhalers for the regular treatment of Asthma.

How to prevent Bronchial Asthma?

Avoid triggers producing asthma, and regular breathing exercises can prevent Bronchial Asthma.

How to Control Obesity

control obesity

How to Control Obesity

Humanity is facing a fast growing serious health problem called Obesity

Around 35%  people around the world are suffering from obesity.

What is Obesity?

If a person’s body weight is more than what is considered healthy for his height, then he/she is said to be obese.

In other words, when a person accumulates fat in his body to such an extent it produces ill health, it is called obesity.

How is obesity measured?

Obesity is measured using the unit called Body Mass Index ( BMI ).

It is calculated by dividing that person’s body weight (in kilograms) by square of his/her height ( in meters)

Example: Person’s weight: 80 kilograms.

Person’s height: 1.60 meters.

BMI : 80/1.60X1.60 =  31.25

Result: Obesity.

Obesity Table

  • BMI below 18.5 – Underweight.
  • BMI   18.5- 24.9 – Normal
  • BMI      25- 29.9 – Over Weight
  • BMI     above 30 – Obesity
  • BMI     above  40 – extreme obesity.

What causes Obesity?

The main cause of obesity is the energy imbalance.

The amount of energy taken (as food and drinks ) should be equal to the amount of energy spent for the normal functions of the body.

If the amount of energy taken in is more than necessary, it produces obesity.

Diet: Energy imbalance is due to consuming large quantities of high-calorie diet, junk foods, deep fried foods, aerated sweet drinks, ice creams etc.

Reduced Physical activities: Previously we used to walk to our workplace or for shopping. Now we use vehicles and buy things online.

We used to climb stairs, now we use lifts or escalators.

Previously children used to play outside. But now they play games on smartphones or computers. They also watch television for hours together munching some fried food like chips. This reduced activity produces obesity.

Other causes of obesity

Diseases like Hypothyroid, polycystic ovaries, and Cushing’s disease can produce obesity.

Not having enough sleep at night also produce obesity.

Mental Stress and psychological problems like depression can also produce obesity.

Obesity can be caused by drugs like steroids, antiepileptics, antidepressants and antipsychotics.

What are the complications of obesity? 

Many people take obesity as a cosmetic problem. But it can produce severe health problems.

Most people with obesity develop type 2 diabetes. It can also produce heart attack, high blood pressure, gall bladder stones, chronic kidney disease and cancer.

Obesity is one of the main causes of knee pain (osteoarthritis).

Obesity produces breathlessness while walking. It is the cause of sleep disorders like snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea, which produces daytime drowsiness.

What are the treatments for obesity? (How to lose weight?) 


Reduce empty calories like sweetened aerated drinks. Reduce deep fried foods, junk foods, high carbohydrate diet and ice screams.

Take more organic fruits and vegetables. Change cooking oil to coconut oil or olive oil.

Increase physical activities

Increase physical activities like walking and daily exercise. Reduce mental stress.

Treat diseases like mental depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism and type 2 diabetes.

Medical treatment

Medicines may not give the same results to all the obese patients. Anti-obesity drugs like Phentermine  (Qsymia), Orlistat (Xenical), Bupropion (Contrave) and meta-amphetamine can be taken under physician’s care.

Surgical treatment

Surgery is necessary if the patient is having severe obesity ( BMI 35 and above).

Surgery is called Bariatric surgery.

Sleeve gastrectomy: Here part of the stomach is removed to reduce the capacity.

Adjustable gastric band: A band placed around the upper part of the stomach to reduce the capacity.

Gastric bypass: The upper portion of the stomach is separated and connected to the small intestine.

These surgeries are invasive and have complications.

So it is better to prevent obesity or treat it naturally.

Click here to know, how to reduce weight naturally