Unraveling the Link: Chronic Airway Inflammation & Asthma

Introduction

Asthma is a common condition due to chronic inflammation of the lower respiratory tract. Chronic lower airway inflammation is known to be more common in individuals that also have inflammatory disorders of the upper airway.

SYMPTOMS:

  • l Shortness of breath or whistling sounds when you exhale (wheezing).
  • Disturbed sleep caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.
  • Chest tightness or pain.
  • Quick-relief (rescue) inhaler use
  • Disruptions to work, school, exercise or other day-to-day activities caused by asthma symptoms.
  • Asthma symptoms during exercise.
  • Changes in color of phlegm you cough up.
  • Hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.
  • Anything that seems to trigger asthma flare-ups.

RISK FACTORS:

  • having an allergy-related condition, such as eczema, a food allergy or hay fever – these are known as atopic conditions
  • having a family history of asthma or atopic conditions
  • having had bronchiolitis – a common childhood lung infection
  • exposure to tobacco smoke as a child
  • your mother smoking during pregnancy
  • being born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or with a low birth weight.

TRIGGERS:

  • infections like colds and flu
  • allergy – such as to pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
  • smoke, fumes and pollution
  • medicines – particularly anti-inflammatory painkillers anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and  aspirin
  • emotions, including stress, or laughter
  • weather – such as sudden changes in temperature, cold air, wind, thunderstorms, heat and humidity
  • mould or damp
  • Exercise

In some cases, asthma is associated with substances you may be exposed to at work.

This is known as occupational asthma.

Some of the most common causes of occupational asthma include

  • isocyanates (chemicals often found in spray paint)
  • flour and grain dust
  • colophony (a substance often found in solder fumes)
  • latex
  • animals
  • wood dust

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