What is asthma and how do we control it?

What is asthma and how do we control it? teaser
Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the airways. This results in the airways become tight, the lining swells and phlegm is produced. This makes it hard to breathe at times and can be life threatening. 


 
Diagnosis of asthma is based on symptoms and a breathing test called ‘spirometry’. This is an important test that can be performed quite simply through your general practitioner. Some of our health professionals at 360 are also trained to perform this test.

The symptoms for asthma include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Tight chest
  • Phlegm production
It’s vitally important to keep your asthma well controlled. For some people this requires preventer medication. Preventer medication is to be taken every day to keep you well, not just when you are having symptoms. Most preventers take 2-4 weeks to hit their peak effect so taking them on a bad day only is a waste of time and medicine. It’s also important to remember most preventer medications requires you to rinse your mouth, gargle and spit out to avoid side effects. And of course a spacer device is important for use with all puffers for adults and children.

Is your asthma well controlled? Well controlled asthma can be described as:
  • Use of reliever medication less than 3 times a week (Ventolin, Asmol, Bricanyl, Airomir) – excluding exercise
  • Free of night time wheeze, cough or chest tightness
  • You can perform your usual activities without getting asthma symptoms.

We also need to know what to do in an emergency. Asthma First Aid is something we should all know! If you yourself have asthma it’s important that you and your loved ones know what to do during an acute attack.  This is also important in the general community. Using the following First Aid Plan could help save your life or the life of another. 

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Leanne Ross
Respiratory Specialist Nurse
360 Health + Community
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