Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract in which inflammation develops in the bronchi causing a narrowing of their lumen. It is accompanied by increased sensitivity of the bronchi to external and internal stimuli and is manifested by periodically occurring attacks of suffocation. The fact is that under the influence of a triggering factor, muscle contraction (bronchospasm), swelling of the mucous membrane, profuse formation of a thick secret (sputum) develops. It is these processes that determine the development of an asthmatic attack.
This disease has been known for a very long time, references have been preserved since ancient Greece. Under the description of asthma, Areteus of Cappadocia in his essay “On the Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Diseases” gave away a whole chapter. Ibn Sina in the “Canon of Medical Science” also paid considerable attention to an ailment accompanied by suffocation. A great contribution to the study of asthma was made by German scientists Kursman and Leiden, who described its clinical symptoms and identified it as a separate disease. To date, the incidence of bronchial asthma in the world affects from 4 to 10 % of the population. In Russia, according to various sources, the prevalence among the adult population varies from 2.2 to 5-7 %, and in the child population this figure is about 10 %.
In childhood, this disease is more likely to affect boys; in adolescence, the number of boys and girls with bronchial asthma is leveled, and among adults, women are more likely to be hit. It is important to emphasize that the hereditary nature of this disease is clearly traced.
Obstruction of the bronchi (narrowing of the lumen) occurs due to a number of mechanisms:
- spasm of the small bronchi;
- swelling of the mucosa;
- increased fluid excretion by the glands of the bronchi;
- increased viscosity of sputum.
In general, two factors are of great importance for the development of asthma:
- the presence of an allergy in a person (an excessive, perverse reaction of the immune system to the ingestion of foreign antigen proteins)
- bronchial hyperreactivity (increased reaction to any stimuli, whether it is pungent odors or cold air, in the form of a narrowing of the lumen).
Bouts. Itching can precede an attack in the chest or neck, mood swings and a sense of fear, but more often suffocation begins suddenly. He is accompanied by a dry cough, noisy breathing, wheezing and whistles are clearly audible from a distance. Heart palpitations, hyperhidrosis. For the most part, exhalation is blocked. Outside of an attack, patients may not experience breathing difficulties or other unpleasant sensations. This is due to the paroxysmal course of the disease characteristic of bronchial asthma.
Treatment. It is very important to exclude or reduce contact with the guilty allergen. For these purposes, each patient, together with his doctor, should make a list of factors that cause asthma attacks. This can be plant pollen, house dust, animal hair, weather factors (wind, changes in barometric pressure, air humidity, temperature fluctuations), viral and bacterial diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, some foods and tablets, hormonal disorders in the body. To find out the reasons, it is necessary to conduct additional research. The doctor also defines a list of drugs and a plan for their use, which is very important to follow in order to prevent exacerbations. Most often, an inhaled method of drug delivery to the body is chosen. For the treatment of bronchial asthma, basic therapy drugs are used that affect the mechanism of the disease, through which patients control the course of the disease, and symptomatic drugs that affect only smooth muscles and relieve the attack.