Asthma is not a disease itself, but a symptom of some other condition. When a person has asthma, he finds it hard to breathe because there is an obstruction to the flow of air into and out of the lungs.
This barrier or obstruction may be caused by a swelling of the mucous membranes, or by a constriction of the tubes leading from the windpipe to the lungs. When a person has an attack of asthma, he develops shortness or breath, wheezing, and coughing. The attack may come on gradually or develop suddenly.
The only way to get rid or asthma is to find out the cause and eliminate it. The cause may be an allergy, an emotional disturbance, or atmospheric conditions. If a person develops asthma before he is 30 years old, it is usually the result of an allergy. He may be sensitive to pollens, dust, animals, or certain foods or medicines.
There are many dusts and pollens which cause asthma. Children, especially tend to develop asthma from food allergies which may be caused by eggs, milk, or wheat products.
Doctors have also observed that an attack of asthma may be caused by emotional disturbance. For example, if a person has family troubles or financial worries asthma may develop. In many cases the emotional disturbance consists of a feeling of being unwanted or unloved. This produces a state which sets off a chain reaction ending in an attack of asthma.
This is why in cases of asthma the diagnosis by the physician is very important. He will take a complete and careful medical history of the patient. He will ask all kinds of questions about the patient’s eating habits, health habits, and environment. If there has been even the slightest change in the person’s routine, he will investigate to see if it has anything to do with the attack of asthma. It may have come after a visit to relatives who keep certain animals, or a visit to the beach, or after eating certain new foods. People who have asthma are often put on special diets by the doctor.