Asthma is a chronic long-term disease that affects the breathing tubes that assist us to get air into our lungs. A person who suffers from asthma can sometimes find it difficult to breathe in and out in the normal manner, although at other times they are unaffected. There is not currently a cure for the disease, although the good news is that with good management and the correct knowledge, most people who suffer from asthma will be able to lead normal and active lives.
Millions of people in the United Kingdom suffer from asthma and there is a close link between allergies and the condition. Asthma tends to be more likely in families where multiple members suffer from allergic conditions, but this does not mean that everyone who has asthma also suffers from allergies.
Adults can develop the disease at any time in their lives, even if they did not suffer from the condition when they were children, while at the same time many pre-school children with wheezy breathing recover by the time they get to primary school and do not become full blown asthmatics.
The risk of developing the disease increases with exposure to both outdoor and indoor forms of pollution such as certain chemicals, cigarette smoke, gases, moulds and particles. Intensive training over a number of years can also cause athletes to develop asthma, particularly if they are continually exposed to cold, dry or polluted air.
The most common symptoms suffered by those with asthma include:
Not all asthma sufferers from all of these symptoms. Noisy breathing is common in pre-school children and babies, and is not an indication of an asthmatic condition.
The airways of people who suffer from asthma are always sensitive, even if they do not seem like it all the time. However, without regular preventative treatment, asthmatics are likely to suffer from airways that are permanently irritated and inflamed. Sometimes these airways will become constricted or tighten, causing asthma symptoms to materialise as there is less space through which to breathe.
There are three ways in which asthma changes the airways within the lungs, and sometimes they can all take place at the same time.
Different things can trigger asthma symptoms in different people, but common triggers include allergies, cigarette smoke, and colds and flu.
Triggers result in narrowed and inflamed airways, which result in asthma symptoms. Controlling asthma can be made easier by doing everything possible to avoid such triggers. This may be easier in some cases than others, but pre-planning can always help to limit the severity of the exposure. Ask an online doctor for advice if you cannot see your GP. Other common triggers include:
Exercise is actually another common trigger, though this can usually be dealt with by taking additional asthma medication prior to commencing the activity, and by warming up in the correct manner.
Patients using asthma medication should have annual inhaler technique check ups. In between these check ups it is entirely fine to get your asthma inhalers prescribed online. See this online GP website for more information about this sort of service.
The term ‘asthma flare-ups’ is used to describe incidents when the symptoms of asthma become more pronounced and severe than is usually the case. These symptoms will not clear up naturally – they require medical treatment. They can come on over a period of hours or days, or sometimes very quickly. Serious flare-ups require urgent assistance by an emergency department or doctor.