World Asthma Day 2022: Asthma or bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of airways and cause them to narrow and swell which causes periodic attacks of coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing. There are different types of asthma and accordingly the triggers are different yet the classic signs mentioned above remain the same. The common types of asthma are allergic asthma, cough-variant asthma, non-allergic asthma, nocturnal asthma and occupation asthma.

According to experts, cigarette smoking and outdoor pollution are the most common triggers of asthma in Delhi NCR. On the occasion of World Asthma Day (May 3), we spoke to some experts on various triggers of the disease.

"The most notable trigger is tobacco smoke which causes irritation of the lower airways. Second hand smoke, termed as the smoke created by the smoker and inhaled by second person, is also a major trigger causing asthma. Inhalation of dust mites, a type of microscopic bugs, can hypersensitise upper as well as lower airways. In Delhi NCR the most common trigger is outdoor pollution," says Dr Avi Kumar, Senior Consultant, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute Okhla New Delhi.

Sinus infections, allergies, pollen, breathing in some chemicals, and acid reflux are other common triggers of asthma attacks. Recovering from Covid can also put you at risk.

"Post Covid increase in allergies has been a constant feature. Patient who are using medications should step up their treatment with bronchodilators, antiallergics and inhaled steroids. Any known triggers such as smoke, dust, strong smells should be completely avoided. Patients who have preponderance to allergies should take yearly flu vaccinations without fail. Utmost care should be given to find the asthma triggers and neutralise them," says Dr Kumar.

Dr Nimish Shah, Consultant, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine- Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital Mumbai says most asthmatics (almost 70%) are allergic or atopic and most will have co-existent nasal symptoms such as rhinitis (runny nose/blocked nose).

Dr Shah also lists the common triggers of asthma:

* Weather change

* Exposure to dust, tree or grass pollen

* Exposure to strong smells such as perfumes and odours

* Exposure to smoke, or occupational dust

* Exposure to certain class of drugs eg. aspirin, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, blood pressure medicines (Beta blockers)

* Stress

* Non-compliance with treatment

* Alcohol, cigarette or drug abuse

* Employment or income problems leading to non-compliance

* Viral infections

* People who have exercise induced asthma, will have symptoms aggravated during exercise.

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