Introduction to Asthma
Asthma is a condition where there is inflammation of the linings of the airways causing chest tightness, wheezing and coughing.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition where there is inflammation of the linings of the airways causing chest tightness, wheezing and coughing. Asthma is a long-term condition that generally begins in childhood. 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children have the condition and it affects women more than men. Asthma symptoms can have varying severity between people and most people find that with good medication adherence, the symptoms are very mild. Sometimes asthma can cause severe symptoms, what is commonly known as an asthma attack. An asthma attack can be a frightening experience, and if not treated properly by medical professionals it can be life threatening.
What causes Asthma?
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the small tubes in the lungs called the bronchi. When you inhale something such as pollen or dust, it triggers a reaction in the airways, causing then to constrict and swell, which causes difficulty in breathing. Other things that can trigger asthma are animal fur, cigarette smoke, exercise, dust mites and viral infections. It is not fully understood why some people develop asthma and some don’t, but sometimes there is a family history of the condition.
What are the symptoms of Asthma?
The main symptoms of asthma are wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing and the feeling of tightness in the chest. Often symptoms worse at night and less severe in the mornings as your body naturally produces anti-inflammatory hormones during the night. Symptoms may also become more severe if you are exposed to an allergen.
How is Asthma treated?
Asthma can be treated by various medication and inhalers, and if taken correctly most people with asthma can lead an unrestricted life. There are two main types of inhalers for people with asthma, one helps relieve chest tightness and one helps to reduce airway inflammation. If symptoms still persist with inhalers ‘add on’ treatment such as medication can be tried. This includes things like steroids and stronger anti-inflammatory medication.