Inside asthma

About asthma

Asthma is a common respiratory condition which affects the air passages or breathing tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.

Asthma causes wheeze and cough, and can make breathing difficult.

If you have asthma, your airways are very sensitive and react to certain triggers such as allergens (substances that cause an allergic reaction), viruses, cold or humid weather, exercise, and air pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

These triggers cause your air passages to tighten up, swell on the inside (become inflamed) and produce more mucus. Thus, the airways become narrower, making it difficult for air to move into the lungs, and even more difficult for air to move out.

What causes asthma?

It’s thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors cause asthma. Common triggers include: 

  • House dust mite.
  • Infections of the airways such as colds and flu.
  • Pollen or mould.
  • Pets.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Weather, such as change in temperature, cold weather or humid weather.
  • Exercise.
  • Stress and high emotion.
  • Chemicals that irritate the airways such as sprays, perfumes, cleaning fluids.
  • Some medications.

How is asthma treated?

If your doctor makes a diagnosis of asthma, they’ll set up an asthma action plan and possibly prescribe medication. While asthma can’t be cured, the correct use of medication combined with other self-care measures mean that symptoms can be well-controlled in most people. Common treatments include reliever and preventer inhalers and steroid tablets.

Your local Life Pharmacist can help you ensure you’re using any prescribed inhaler correctly and answer any other questions you might have about asthma.

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