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Infection, Smoke Causes Asthma

Infection, Smoke Causes Asthma

Recently, Nigeria, indeed, the literary world lost a gem in the person of popular movie producer, Amaka Igwe.

Igwe, who produced popular movies and soap operas that include ‘Violated’, ‘Checkmate’ and ‘Fuji House of Commotion’, was reported to have died in Enugu, Enugu State following an asthma attack.

But what is an asthma attack?

A former President, National Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Adekunle Ashimi, describes asthma as a chronic inflammatory respiratory condition.

“It often starts from childhood or at any other age throughout life, and it affects the air tubes but not the lung tissue itself,” he says.

Ashimi explains that the features of asthma can last for a short time.

“The common features are wheezing, that is a whistling sound when breathing, shortness of breath, chest tightening and cough, which occurs mostly at night,” he adds.

Another medical doctor, Dr. Yemi Aribatise, says a person suffering from asthma needs to be cautious of the general environment as well as the person’s lifestyle.

“It is essential for an asthmatic patient to be able to note whatever triggers the attack and to avoid such, some of the triggers include dust, grass, woolly environment, pets, and smoke from frying food items,” he says.

Three events that occur during an asthmatic attack may include constriction or tightening of the air pipe; swelling of the inner part of the air pipe; and increase mucus secretion within the air pipe.

The above events cause the normal passage of air into the lungs to become narrow leading to difficulty in passage of air into and out of the lungs.

Ashimi says while what causes asthma is not exactly known, it has long been known that some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma.

He adds, “In some people with tendency to develop allergies such as eczema (which is not the lightening of patches of skin that people confuse it to mean) and allergic rhinitis (watery itchy nose with sneezing). If Asthma joins the above two, the three features together are called atopy.

“Asthma is often found in children of parents who have asthma; it may however not come up until varying level of exposure to certain environmental factors such as smoke (from tobacco, firewood, frying etc), dust, pollens from flowers etc.

“It is often linked to certain respiratory infection in infancy or early childhood.

“Children of mothers who smoke in pregnancy or who are exposed to cigarette smoke in infancy have also been noted to develop asthma.”

Currently, asthma has no cure, but can only be managed according to medical experts.

Prevention includes avoiding all the factors known to be linked with triggering asthmatic attack, especially in people who have one or more members of the family suffering from asthma.

Treatments include the use of the common inhalers or asthma relief drugs when the symptoms are mild and intravenous medication administered by healthcare professionals when symptoms are moderate or severe.

Source: Punch

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