Asthma: Things To Be Taken Care Of!

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterised by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. While it commonly emerges in childhood, it can affect individuals of all ages.

In asthma, the airways become swollen and sensitive, reacting to triggers such as allergens, irritants, exercise, or cold air. This heightened sensitivity can result in episodes of asthma attacks, varying in severity from mild to life-threatening.

Despite the absence of a cure, asthma can be effectively managed through proper treatment and lifestyle adjustments, allowing individuals to lead active and fulfilling lives.



  1. Coughing: Persistent coughing, particularly at night or during physical activity, is a common symptom of asthma in children. This cough may worsen with exposure to triggers such as allergens or cold air.
  2. Wheezing: Wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing out, is often associated with asthma in children. However, not all children with asthma wheeze, and wheezing alone does not confirm the diagnosis.
  3. Chest Tightness: Children with asthma may experience a sensation of tightness or discomfort in the chest, which can interfere with normal activities.
  4. Shortness of Breath: Asthma can cause difficulty breathing, especially during physical exertion or asthma attacks. Children may appear breathless or struggle to catch their breath.
  5. Fatigue: Chronic inflammation and poor sleep quality due to nighttime symptoms can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels in children with asthma.
  6. Decreased Physical Activity: Children with uncontrolled asthma may avoid physical activities or sports due to fear of triggering symptoms or experiencing breathing difficulties.
  7. Symptoms with Cold or Illness: Asthma symptoms may worsen during viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, leading to increased coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.


  1. Coughing: Persistent or intermittent coughing, especially at night or upon exposure to triggers, is a hallmark symptom of asthma in adults.
  2. Wheezing: Like children, adults with asthma may experience wheezing, which is often more noticeable during exhalation but can occur during inhalation as well.
  3. Shortness of Breath: Asthma-related breathlessness can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe, and may occur during physical activity or at rest.
  4. Chest Tightness: Many adults with asthma describe a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest, which can be uncomfortable or distressing.
  5. Difficulty Sleeping: Nocturnal asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness, can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or poor sleep quality.
  6. Fatigue: Chronic inflammation and the effort required to breathe with asthma can result in fatigue, lethargy, and decreased productivity in daily activities.
  7. Increased Mucus Production: Some adults with asthma may experience increased production of mucus or phlegm, which can contribute to coughing and congestion.

It’s essential to note that asthma symptoms can vary widely among individuals and may change over time. Proper diagnosis and management are crucial for effectively controlling symptoms and improving quality of life.

Risk Factors


  1. Family History: Children with a family history of asthma or allergies are at higher risk of developing asthma themselves. Genetic factors play a significant role in predisposing children to the condition.
  2. Early Childhood Exposures: Exposure to tobacco smoke, particularly during infancy and early childhood, increases the risk of developing asthma. Children who grow up in households with smokers or are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher likelihood of developing asthma.
  3. Respiratory Infections: Severe respiratory infections during infancy or early childhood, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or severe viral bronchiolitis, can increase the risk of developing asthma later in life.
  4. Allergen Exposure: Sensitivity to common allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold, can trigger asthma symptoms in susceptible children. Regular exposure to these allergens may increase the risk of developing asthma.
  5. Obesity: Childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma. The exact mechanisms underlying this association are not fully understood but may involve chronic inflammation and changes in respiratory function.
  6. Environmental Factors: Living in urban areas with high levels of pollution or air quality issues can exacerbate asthma symptoms and increase the risk of developing the condition in susceptible children.
  7. Low Birth Weight or Prematurity: Children born with low birth weight or prematurely are at higher risk of developing asthma. Premature birth can lead to underdeveloped lungs and respiratory issues, increasing susceptibility to asthma.


  1. Personal History of Allergies: Adults with a history of allergies, such as hay fever or eczema, are at increased risk of developing asthma. Allergic sensitization can contribute to airway inflammation and asthma symptoms.
  2. Occupational Exposures: Exposure to irritants or allergens in the workplace, such as dust, chemicals, or fumes, can trigger asthma or exacerbate existing asthma symptoms in adults. Certain occupations, such as farming, manufacturing, or healthcare, carry a higher risk of occupational asthma.
  3. Smoking and Secondhand Smoke: Smoking, both active and passive (secondhand smoke), is a significant risk factor for developing asthma in adults. Cigarette smoke irritates the airways and can exacerbate existing asthma symptoms or trigger asthma attacks.
  4. Respiratory Infections: Severe or recurrent respiratory infections, such as influenza or pneumonia, can increase the risk of developing asthma or exacerbate existing asthma symptoms in adults.
  5. Obesity: Similar to children, obesity in adulthood is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma. Obesity-related inflammation and changes in lung function may contribute to the development of asthma in susceptible individuals.
  6. Stress and Emotional Factors: Chronic stress, anxiety, or emotional factors may contribute to the development or worsening of asthma symptoms in adults. Stress can trigger inflammatory responses and exacerbate airway hyperresponsiveness.
  7. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during pregnancy or menopause, can affect asthma symptoms in women. Some women may experience worsened asthma symptoms during certain hormonal phases.

Identifying and addressing these risk factors can help mitigate the likelihood of developing asthma and improve overall respiratory health in both children and adults.

Asthma Action Plan

An asthma action plan is a personalized document created by a healthcare provider to help individuals manage their asthma effectively. It typically includes information about asthma triggers, daily medications, rescue medications, peak flow meter readings, and steps to take in case of worsening symptoms or an asthma attack. Here’s a basic template for an asthma action plan:

Please note: This sample asthma action plan is for reference only. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and recommendations.

Article courtesy of The Wellness Corner.

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Zac Zacharia (Managing Director) has been assisting clients to create wealth and secure their futures for over 14 years.

He is also an accomplished presenter and educator

Co-authoring the popular investment book, Property vs Shares.