What is Asthma?

Asthma is a long-term lung condition of the airways (the passage that transports air into our lungs).  At the moment, there is no cure, but it can be managed.

People suffering from this condition have sensitive airways. These airways become inflamed (also known as a flare-up) when they are exposed to triggers. When the airways become inflamed, the narrowing airways cause significant, persistent and troublesome symptoms. This often caused breathing difficulties, as it is equivalent to breathing through a very thin tube. In addition, it leads to a medical emergency.

An flare-up can come on slowly over hours, days or even weeks, or quickly over minutes.

What are the symptoms?

People with asthma experience symptoms because of the inflammation and narrowing of their airways. Symptoms often vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

  1. Persistent cough, irrespective of sound it makes.
  2. Wheezing – high pitch whistling sound made by narrowing of airways
  3. Breathing difficulties – sometimes the signs of airways tightening does not result any sounds (silent asthma) we are familiar with such as wheezing and coughing.
  4. Tightening of chest / Chest pain

Common types of Asthma

  1. Allergic asthma – caused by allergens such as pollen, dust, food items and mould
  2. Non-allergic asthma – caused by irritants such as viruses, air particles from smoke, cleaning products, perfumes and aerosal products
  3. Occupational asthma – caused by workplace triggers such as chemicals, animal proteins, fumes etc.
  4. Exercise-induced asthma – usually caused by physical activities
  5. Noctural asthma – symptoms that worsen at night, possible cause includes dust mites, heartburn or sleep cycle

Using inhalers correctly

Using your asthma or COPD inhaler properly is important, with the right technique you can be sure the medicine will get to where it needs to.
The following link has educational videos on all the different types of inhalation devices to help ensure you and your family are using the best techniques to get the most out of your medicines.