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Wheezing & Asthma

In general, no one will hear their own breathing sounds or heart beats unless otherwise they get physically more strained. If any one happens to hear their own breathing sounds and heart beats even under resting condition, then that sound should be treated as Nature�s alarm to take care of the lungs or body.

Normally, whenever pressurized air passes through a narrow space, it produces continuous whistling or humming sounds. One such whistling / husky sound heard abnormally from lungs (due to partially constricted / obstructed airways) is medically termed as wheezing. Sometimes in extreme cases, it is readily audible to near ones and sometimes it may need palpation or stethoscope to realize the wheeze.

Wheezing- is an abnormal high pitched continuous / prolonged whistling sound heard all over the lungs especially during expiratory phase of respiration. It�s otherwise called as Rhochi. Wheezing usually refers ailing lungs. Even though both inspiration and expiration seems to be difficult for wheezing patients, the abnormal sound occurs more prominent during exhalation since during inspiration, lung happens to get expand with dilatation of narrowed airway. Wheezing is commonly heard in Asthma, Croup, Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Emphysema, Allergic respiratory illnesses, etc.

Wheezing usually occurs due to partial obstruction of the lumen of lungs which is caused because of swelling of the mucous membranes / spasm or constriction of smooth muscles / loading of viscid or mucous secretions, etc. It can also arise due to allergic reactions, untreated or maltreated cold and exposure to irritants.

Other than whistling wheezing sound, many other abnormal short interrupted sounds can also arise from chest with diseases. They are

Croup - Rattling chest with barking cough (common in children)
Stridor - an abnormal sound most commonly occurring with viral or bacterial infections of throat - here inflamed epiglottis / vocal cord / laryngx gets swollen and block / narrow the airway to cause this sound. The characteristic sound of stridor will be very short crowing sound. Stridor can also be heard when foreign objects or food enters the throat or airways causing obstruction. This sort of sounds will be heard more commonly during inspiration since process of inspiration occurs as forcible and expiration occur only as a passive natural recoil of lungs.
Rales - are named for fine, coarse and short interrupted sounds - Crepitations / Clicking sounds / Cracking sounds / Bubbling sounds / Rattling sounds, etc. They occur commonly due to alveolar diseases and with fluid collections.

Auscultation of lungs with expertise knowledge of abnormal sounds and disease can help one to differentiate the abnormal sounds from one another and can provide clue for the diagnosis of the disease. Lacking the differentiating ability, common people use to call all the abnormal sounds as wheezing. Likewise, they use the term Wheezing and Asthma for one another. While wheezing is a symptom Asthma is a disease. Every asthmatic patient can have wheezing but all the wheezing patients need not be asthmatic, i.e., wheezing can occur due to various other reasons too � for example pulmunory odema, heart failure, etc.

Asthma - is a chronic inflammatory lung disease characterised with difficulty in breathing and whistle breathing (wheezing) especially during exhalation. It may be transient or persistent (seasonal or perennial). Asthma has a tendency to wheeze due to sensitive tracheo bronchial tree. So, it is also called as Reactive lung disorder. Commonly, children who suffer constantly with allergy, dermatitis and eczema use to develop asthma in due course, unless otherwise properly cared. They all seem to be closely associated and genetically related. In these cases, the antibodies IgE are found to be elevated in the serum. Medical advancement still cannot configure the complete picture of asthma, since it has different types and it also seems to have interactions with genes, foods and environmental factors.
Asthma can restrict lung functions and can also restrict one�s life style. In asthma / wheezing, oxygen supply to the body (which is very essential for survival of the parts / life) will get affected. Normally, breathing happens around 14 times / minute. In case of asthma / wheezing, it can vary from 20 - 40 times / minute to compensate the oxygen need of the body through narrowed airways. Here, breathing will be very shallow and frequent.

Incidences - The incidences of asthma / wheezing seems to be increasing throughout the world even in developed countries. It can affect any one irrespective of age, sex and race. Even though it is not contagious, it is often found to descend through genes. In olden days, the incidences are more common with elderly people, but now-a-days, children suffer more commonly and frequently than elderly people. The cause is unknown. Any how, pollution and weakened immune mechanisms can be blamed as the causes. Their incidences also seems to be high in cases of maltreated or untreated recurrent cold. Roughly around 6-8% of the total population suffers with asthma / wheezing / allergies.

(To be continued)

Doctor's Profile

Making a Healthier Tomorrow
Dr S Chidambaranathan,
Homeopathic Consultant
Website: http://www.drcheena.in/
www.drcheena.com
E-mail: drcheena@yahoo.com



Place Hospital Address Phone Visiting Hours
Chennai Kumaran Hospital (P) Ltd., 869, E.V.R. Periyar Road,
(Poonthamalle High Road), Next to Sangam Theatre, Kilpauk, 
Chennai - 600 010.

044 - 26411860
(5 Lines)

Every Month 2nd Saturday & Sunday
Place Hospital Address Phone Tele Fax
Madurai Laxmi Homeo Clinic 24 E New Mahalipatti Road,
Madurai - 625 001.
0452 - 2338833
Mobile 0-98431 - 91011
0452-2330196
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