Asthma is a common condition that causes breathing difficulties including coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and breathlessness. Most people with asthma who take the appropriate treatment can live normal lives, but left untreated, asthma can cause permanent damage to the airways.
It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood although it can also develop for the first time in adults.
Symptoms of asthma
The usual symptoms of asthma are:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.
Treatment of asthma
There isn't a cure for asthma. However, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individual to you, combining medicines and asthma management in a way that works best for you.
Living with asthma
Medicines are only part of your treatment for asthma. You will also need to deal with the things that make it worse. Keep a diary to record anything that triggers your asthma - this can help you to discover a pattern. Using a peak flow meter to monitor your lung function can also help. If you have repeatedly low readings in a certain situation (for example, at the end of a working day, after exercise or after contact with an animal) this may indicate the trigger.
It is important you attend the practice every year for your annual review.