Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition caused by hypersensitivity and inflammation of the bronchial tubes (airways). During an asthma episode the following occurs;
- The lining of the airways becomes swollen.
- The airways produce thick mucus.
- The muscles around the airway tighten and make the airway smaller.
Symptoms include a cough, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness, and can vary in severity from person to person.
When asthma symptoms get significantly worse, it is known as an 'asthma attack'. Asthma affects people of all ages and has a substantial impact on the community.
A number of factors can trigger asthma symptoms, and triggers may differ between individuals. An asthma trigger is something that causes an asthma attack and include:
Our experienced doctors understand the importance of diagnosing and managing asthma.
Your doctor will use many factors to diagnose whether a person has asthma. These include:
- Medical history
- Physical exam
- Pathology tests
They will want to know when and how often symptoms happen, and if you have noticed anything that might trigger them.
Your doctor will assess your Medical History by asking the following;
- Does anyone in your immediate family have asthma?
- Do you have allergies?
- Do you have repeated infections of the nose throat or lungs?
- Do you cough when you exercise?
- What is your home environment like? Do you have pets? Does anyone smoke in your home? Do you sleep on a feather pillow?
Your doctor may also give you a lung function test (spirometry). This is a simple breath test that will measure the lungs volume and the rate in which air is taken in and out of the lungs.
Our Doctors perform regular reviews and provide asthma management plans and preventive and reliever medications if required. They also refer those with severe disease to Respiratory or Allergy Specialists.
How is Asthma Treated?
Our Doctors assist patients who have a new or existing diagnosis of asthma. We work with patients and their families to minimize the symptoms of asthma, to prevent flare-ups by proper use of medications, and to improve quality of life. It is important to remember that Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.
Firstly, it is important to Control infections, as infections can make your asthma more severe.
Additionally, it is just as important to Control your environment: That is avoiding the following;
- Avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke and perfumes.
- Avoid known allergens
- Allergy proof your home
If necessary, your Doctor will initiate an Asthma Action Plan that may include one or more of the following medications:
- Controller medication/inhalers
- Allergy medications
- Rescue Inhalers
Call triple zero (000) to seek immediate help if you or someone else has severe symptoms of asthma.
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