Do you suffer from wheezing, coughing (particularly at night), chest tightness, difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath? These are symptoms of Asthma.
Asthma is common and can start at any age. Asthma affects 1 in 4 children, 1 in 7 teenagers, and 1 in 10 adults. It is commonly associated with allergies which can cause hay fever, eczema and hives.
What is asthma? Asthma affects the small airways in the lungs causing the typical symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It is due to inflammation of the airways which causes the airways to narrow.
Not everyone has ALL the symptoms. A persistent cough (especially at night), coughing or wheezing after exercise, coughing when exposed to perfumes, cold air or cigarette smoke may be due to asthma. All people’s asthma is different and by knowing what triggers your asthma can help manage your asthma.
How is asthma diagnosed? There is not one simple test that confirms a diagnosis of asthma. A diagnosis of asthma is based on symptoms experienced, an examination of the chest and a lung function test (a breathing test). There are two breathing tests used for asthma – spirometry and peak flow measurement. Both measure how well your lungs are working and how much your asthma affects your breathing.
If a diagnosis of asthma is made it is important to treat it properly. Treatment usually involves using a regular inhaler. There are two types of inhalers – preventer and reliever. Preventer inhalers are steroid based and they work by reducing the inflammation in the lungs and so stop the symptoms occurring. Reliever inhalers work by opening up the airways and temporarily easing symptoms. The aim in the treatment of asthma is to stop the symptoms occurring by using the lowest possible dose of a preventer inhaler. The reliever inhaler should only be required occasionally.
Triggers in can include dust mites, dust, cigarette smoke, pollen, pets, colds, flu, viral infections, chemicals, changes in the weather, mould, exercise, hormones, food additives and preservatives.
Managing your asthma by taking your asthma medications, monitoring your asthma, stay active and healthy, avoid triggers such as house dust mites or pollen, having an asthma action plan and have regular check up with your doctor.
Asthma is treatable. With good management, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.
Disclaimer: The above article is not intended as medical advice and is not necessarily representative of Alive and Kicking Medical Practices’ beliefs or philosophies. The intention of this article is simply to share ideas, thoughts and theories currently being explored within medical and scientific communities. You should always speak with your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner before starting, ceasing, or altering medical treatment.