What is asthma and why does it occur?

Many mothers start to panic when they find out that their child has bronchial asthma (BA). However, this diagnosis for a baby is not a sentence if you take the disease under control and start treatment on time.

“Suffocating cough”

It is believed that the first mention of bronchial asthma belongs to Homer, who in the Iliad (VIII century BC) described Hector’s condition after he was wounded in the chest by Achilles, as asthma – “suffocating cough”. As a medical term, “asthma” is first found in the works of the founder of medicine – Hippocrates, and then – in Herodotus, Galen and Celsus .A clinical description of the disease was given by a Russian general practitioner, ordinary professor at Moscow University Grigory Sokolsky in 1838. He believed that the cause of the development of bronchial asthma is the inflammatory process in the bronchi. 1 Later, scientists found that asthma can develop due to allergies, as well as on the background of neurosis. 2,3 Doctors currently define asthma as follows:

Bronchial asthma is an allergic disease characterized by repeated attacks of expiratory dyspnea caused by a violation of bronchial patency, which is associated with the localization of an allergic reaction in the tissues of the bronchial tree. 4 (Big Medical Encyclopedia (BME))

According to the Global Asthma Treatment and Prevention Initiative (GINA 2020), more than 360 million people worldwide suffer from asthma today, and this number is increasing every year. 3,4 Moreover, a person can get asthma at any age.

It is interesting! According to some reports, such famous personalities as Peter I, Napoleon, John F. Kennedy, Ernesto Che Guevara, Maximilian Voloshin, Arseny Tarkovsky suffered from bronchial asthma. 5

What provokes the development of bronchial asthma?

Doctors often call bronchial asthma a “strange disease” because it has an atopic nature (“ atopy ” in Greek means “strangeness” 6 ). Atopic asthma is a common type of bronchial asthma. Its exacerbation is caused by allergens, which in a short time trigger an allergic reaction: itching, nasal congestion, suffocating cough. 7 Common allergens include household allergens (e.g. house dust mites), animal dander, cockroaches, fungi, plant pollen, chemicals, etc.

Another type of bronchial asthma is infectious, or infectious- allergic asthma, in which allergy plays only the role of an “accomplice” 8 . For example, if a respiratory infection enters the human body without allergies, it can only cause bronchitis. In the body of an allergic person, this infection causes an additional reaction, which increases the swelling of the bronchi, increases the amount of mucus, and thus causes an asthma attack.

Let’s not forget about the third component – the psycho-emotional state. It acts as a catalyst that enhances or, conversely, reduces the manifestations of bronchial asthma 9.10


Anita Robertovna Denisova

Candidate of Medical Sciences, pediatrician, allergist-immunologist

“If we talk about childhood asthma, then the main trigger that triggers its mechanism in pediatrics are allergens. Psycho-emotional state can also act as a trigger. 2 Stress affects the tone of the bronchi through the autonomic nervous system and can lead to the development of exacerbations of bronchial asthma. This is due to the fact that pronounced manifestations of emotions (laughter, crying, anger or fear) provoke a narrowing of the airways 2 – the bronchus narrows and the passage of air through the respiratory tract is difficult.

What to do if you are diagnosed with bronchial asthma?

It is important that bronchial asthma is not just a cough, but a suffocating cough, the occurrence of which is associated with the action of allergens, respiratory infections and the psycho-emotional state of the child. 12

Therefore, if a baby has been diagnosed with bronchial asthma, the mother must, firstly, learn how to eliminate asthma attacks, and secondly, create conditions that will help prevent them: protect the child from allergens and maintain his emotional state. Figuratively speaking, mother will constantly have to save “her Hector” from the “spear of Achilles.”

About what are the possibilities of medicine in the fight against bronchial asthma, and how they work in real situations, read on.

event_note August 13, 2022

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