Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies

Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies

Bronchial asthma is a serious global health problem. 5% to 10% of persons of all ages suffer from this chronic airway disorder.

Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies
When people talk about bronchial asthma, they are really talking about asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes periodic "attacks" of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

If you have been experiencing breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing (whistling sound coming from chest) recently, you might have caught bronchial asthma. You need to pay early attention to treat bronchial asthma because the prolonged state of asthma can harm your lungs in a big way. So, read on to know what is bronchial asthma, how do you get bronchial asthma or the bronchial asthma causes, how to recognize bronchial asthma- the symptoms for asthma and effective treatment for asthma including natural asthma remedies.

What is Bronchial Asthma?


Bronchial asthma is the common asthma which is an inflammatory disease of airways that causes periodic attacks of coughing, wheezing (whistling sound from chest), breathlessness, and even chest congestion. Due to the inflammation of airways, a person feels difficulty in breathing and chest tightness or chest congestion. Some people feel these conditions at night which is called nocturnal asthma or in the early morning hours. Some other people feel these symptoms of asthma when they exercise. This is called exercise-induced asthma. The inflammation, caused by many factors, make the airway hyper-responsive.

Bronchial asthma is diagnosed on the basis of the clinical history, physical examination, and pulmonary function tests, including reversibility testing and measurement of bronchial reactivity. The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms of the disease effectively and in lasting fashion. Long-term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids is the basis of asthma treatment, alongside preventive measures and patient education. Bronchodilators such as beta2 sympathomimetics are used for rapid symptomatic relief of acute attacks.

Signs & Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma


Bronchial Asthma Triggers

Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies

Bronchial asthma triggers may include:
  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Infections such as colds, flu, or pneumonia
  • Allergens such as food, pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander
  • Exercise
  • Air pollution and toxins
  • Weather, especially extreme changes in temperature
  • Drugs (such as aspirin, NSAID, and beta-blockers)
  • Food additives (such as MSG)
  • Emotional stress and anxiety
  • Singing, laughing, or crying
  • Perfumes and fragrances
  • Acid reflux

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma


With bronchial asthma, you may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

Shortness of Breath

According to the National Institutes of Health, shortness of breath is one of the most common signs of bronchial asthma, in addition to coughing and wheezing. Shortness of breath may be most noticeable in bronchial asthma sufferers during exercise or other strenuous activity. The Nemours Foundation compares the shortness of breath you experience with asthma to the feeling you would get trying to suck air through a straw--it is difficult to breathe in and out and fill your lungs with oxygen.

Coughing & Wheezing

Repeated coughing and wheezing is also another common symptom of Bronchial asthma. The National Institutes of Health finds that wheezing in asthma sufferers is likely be at its worst early in the morning or late at night, and will usually occur without warning before it goes away on its own or is relieved by an inhaler. If you suffer from bronchial asthma, you may find that your wheezing becomes worse when you are exercising or outdoors in very cold weather. Coughing is also a very common Coughing & Wheezing

Repeated coughing and wheezing is also another common symptom of Bronchial asthma. The National Institutes of Health finds that wheezing in asthma sufferers is likely be at its worst early in the morning or late at night, and will usually occur without warning before it goes away on its own or is relieved by an inhaler. If you suffer from bronchial asthma, you may find that your wheezing becomes worse when you are exercising or outdoors in very cold weather. Coughing is also a very common symptom.

Chest Tightness

A tight feeling in the chest can be caused by asthma and is usually associated with shortness of breath. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause chest tightness, so if you are experiencing chest pain or tightness you should see your doctor or an emergency physician right away.

Emergency Symptoms

Bronchial asthma attacks can cause an emergency situation if they are severe and not treated right away. If you or someone you know seems to be having trouble breathing and cannot speak, is sweating or is turning blue, go to the emergency room immediately.

Bronchial Asthma Causes

How Do You Get Asthma?

Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies
Asthma is primarily associated with allergy but allergy is not the only way you get asthma. Allergies are also associated with genetic inheritance and so does asthma. Mast cells, eosinophils, and T lymphocytes in human body are responsible for causing bronchial asthma. Mast cells (the allergy causing cells) release chemicals called histamine which in turn is responsible for nasal stuffiness and constriction of airways. Eosinophils and T lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells that are associated with allergic diseases and inflammation. Thus, the causes of bronchial asthma can be listed as under.
  • Allergies
  • Genetic factors
  • Increased numbers of Eosinophils
There are certain asthma triggers too apart from bronchial asthma causes. These triggers lead to attacks of coughing, breathlessness and wheezing! Such asthma triggers may include:
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Infections like colds, flu, pneumonia
  • Allergens like food, pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander (skin flakes)
  • Exercise
  • Air pollution, toxins
  • Extreme changes in temperature
  • Certain drugs like aspirin, NSAID, and beta-blockers
  • Food additives like MSG flavor enhancers
  • Emotional stress and anxiety
  • Hyper activities like singing, laughing, or crying
  • Perfumes or sprays
  • Acid reflux

Diagnosing Bronchial Asthma


Diagnosis of Asthma


Because asthma symptoms don't always happen during your doctor's appointment, it's important for you to describe your, or your child's, asthma signs and symptoms to your health care provider. You might also notice when the symptoms occur such as during exercise, with a cold, or after smelling smoke. Asthma tests may include:
Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies


Spirometry: A lung function test to measure breathing capacity and how well you breathe. You will breathe into a device called a spirometer.

Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF): Using a device called a peak flow meter, you forcefully exhale into the tube to measure the force of air you can expend out of your lungs. Peak flow monitoring can allow you to monitor how well your asthma is doing at home.

Chest X-ray: Your doctor may do a chest X-ray to rule out any other diseases that may be causing similar symptoms.

Differential diagnosis of Asthma


The following entities should be considered in the differential diagnosis of bronchial asthma because of their frequency and clinical significance:
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Hyperventilation
  • Aspiration
  • Laryngeal changes/vocal cord dysfunction
  • Pneumothorax
  • Cystic fibrosis (CF)
  • Cardiac diseases, e.g., left heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
In as many as 10% to 20% of cases, a clear-cut distinction between asthma and COPD cannot be drawn.


Bronchial Asthma Treatment


Treatment includes aggressive antibiotics and oftentimes steroids are used to stop an attack immediately. Medication includes leukotriene inhibitors, chomolyn sodium, and long-acting bronchodilators. Some of these prevent further attacks while others treat immediate problems. Fast acting inhalers give patients the confidence to go on with daily activities knowing a cure is at their fingertips if the need arises. Understanding an individuals limits concerning the type and level of physical activity is crucial in living a normal life. Another angle of bronchial asthma treatment is to slowly and carefully expose oneself to the suspected allergen in order to build up immunity toward it. This method should be supervised by a doctor due to life threatening effects if something goes wrong. Emergency situations present themselves even in people who have otherwise only experienced mild effects. These characteristics include bluish complexion, rapid pulse, and sweating. Reducing these attacks is the goal of any asthmatic. A diet rich in B5, B6, and B12 vitamins as well as folic acid and vitamin C help build the immune system and the respiratory system in order to avoid such instance. Leafy green vegetable, dairy products, and fish can naturally build up these systems. If other dietary issues need to be taken into consideration, then speaking with a dietitian or nutritionist is advisable.

Preventing this disease or the onset of an attack reduces damage to the lungs and general respiratory area. Because bronchial asthma is an acute respiratory disease a person needs to be very serious in their actions concerning the aggravation of the airways, which would trigger an attack. The reduction to exposure of triggering environmental factors will reduce the instance of attacks thus reducing the need for bronchial asthma treatment. Some time of trail and error may be necessary to identify specific allergens to avoid. Triggers may include pet dander, dust, pests, mold, smoke, food allergy, or seasonal pollen. Anti-inflammatory drugs negatively affect some people as well as chemicals found in household cleaners and even chemicals found in processed foods. The FDA is working with companies to decrease the amount of preservatives used as well as the chemicals included in consumable products. Organic or natural products are the safest way to create a healthier and better life. Allergy tests are not equipped for testing chemicals. Trial and error is the only way to identify irritants, but the best option is to simply avoid toxic chemicals altogether.

Most people with respiratory diseases can live normal lives with help from medication and certain lifestyle changes. Ignoring bronchial asthma only makes the attacks worse due to the diminishing immune system and weakened respiratory system. Neglect in treating this problem can lead to further health complications and even death. Keeping a clean house and changing out cleaning products may drastically reduce the effects of this disease if no single experience can be pinpointed as the onset of attack. Something as simple as changing hand soap or facial tissue brand can eliminate triggering chemicals. If trial and error does not bring any relief then hiring a professional to clean the entire house or test for mold in the house can lead to an answer. These services are often expensive, but in comparison to the cost of enjoyable life, monetary sacrifice may be diminished. Likewise, if family can help and a specific day is assigned to through clean, professionals may not need to be called. Going room to room and not only cleaning, but evaluating the need for certain furniture or other stuff will likewise aid in creating the healthiest space possible. Evaluate light fixtures and even the amount of shelves a room has will help determine the danger of future bacteria growth in a room. The more open space and hard surfaces, the less likely an asthmatic attack is.

Use asthma medication (which can include asthma inhalers and pills


Once diagnosed, your health care provider will recommend asthma medication (which can include asthma inhalers and pills) and lifestyle changes to treat and prevent asthma attacks. For example, long-acting anti-inflammatory asthma inhalers are often necessary to treat the inflammation associated with asthma. These inhalers deliver low doses of steroids to the lungs with minimal side effects if used properly. The fast-acting or "rescue" bronchodilator inhaler works immediately on opening airways during an asthma attack.
Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies

Bronchial asthma can be placed under the category of chronic diseases. As such, a person suffering from bronchial asthma should always be under constant medical supervision. Depending upon the causing factors, bronchial asthma may or may not be curable in a complete manner. However, avoiding the asthma triggers, external causes like allergies and proper treatment can let its patient lead a fairly normal life. Basically, two types of drugs are given for bronchial asthma treatment.
  • Fast Relief Medicines or the relievers to ease the acute respiratory complexities.
  • Control Medicines or the preventers to resist recurrence of asthma in its intensified form.
Apart from the above two drugs, two hormones are also used to treat bronchial asthma. These are adrenalin and hydrocortisone hormones. Adrenaline is used for acute bronchial asthma where emergency arises. The adrenaline hormone is injected into the patient’s bloodstream in cases of emergency to activate the reflex of body. As adrenaline quickens pulse rate, provides a drive for rapid heart action and arouses our health system to fight with emergencies, it helps a lot in containing the heightened attacks of asthma. The other hormone is used in form of hydrocortisone medicines ( steroid form) that are given for longer periods as the long-term consumption of these drugs assist in reducing the intensity of pain and suffering for an asthma patient. Therapeutic exercises as well as breathing exercises are also used to treat asthmatic conditions.

One of the very different asthma treatment technique involves gradually and carefully exposing the bronchial asthma patient to the allergens to build up resistance against them (somewhat like vaccination concept). However, this has to be done under strict supervision of physician as this involves great risks too.

Bronchodilator- Asthma Inhaler Medication


If you have bronchial asthma, make sure your health care provider shows you how to use the inhalers properly. Be sure to keep your rescue inhaler with you in case of an asthma attack or asthma emergency. While there is no asthma cure yet, there are excellent asthma medications that can help with preventing asthma symptoms. Asthma support groups are also available to help you better cope with your asthma. 

The description of asthma treatment can't get completed without talking about bronchodilator which is an asthma medication used to relax the muscles and enlarge the size of the airways of lungs. These asthma medications are inhaled through mouth with the help of asthma inhalers. They are also available in oral forms but inhaled forms are preferred over the oral ones. Bronchodilators are available as Short-Acting Beta Agonists (SABA) and Long-Acting Beta Agonists (LABA). SABAs are prescribed as a quick relief medication, while LABAs are the controller medication. Bronchodilator remedy is used at the preliminary stage of asthma treatment. When there is critical asthma attack, steroid form of medicines are used by the doctors.

Natural Asthma Remedies


Lifestyle management is very crucial for asthma patients. There are two aspects for this- avoiding the asthma triggers and adopting such ways that increase resistance to allergy-causing factors. Here are certain diet remedies for asthma as well as other natural home remedies for bronchial asthma.
Bronchial Asthma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Natural Remedies

  • Take diet rich in B6, B12 and B5 vitamins as well as Vitamin C and folic acid. This helps in building immune system.
  • Have foods rich in antioxidants to boost immune system.
  • Seam some ginger tea. Add four minced garlic cloves in the tea while it is steaming. Drink this after it cools down a little.
  • When experiencing asthma attack, get someone to rub mustard oil mixed with camphor on your back. This makes breathing easier.
  • Take one cup of water and add half teaspoon of licorice and ginger juice to it. Drink to get relief from asthma symptoms.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Drink plenty of water. If you can't decide on water intake amount, read this- how much water should you drink in a day
  • Clean home regularly to keep dust at minimal levels.
  • Avoid pets with fur or feather.
  • When its cold, cover your face with mask or cloth.
  • Do regular exercises. If you have exercise-induced asthma, consult your doctor to know about what exercises can you do.
  • Control heartburn and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) to keep bronchial asthma under control.