Asthma, a major noncommunicable disease (NSD) affects approximately 1 in 9 Australians, including both adults & children.
It is a respiratory condition characterised by inflammation and constriction of the airways, making breathing challenging. Asthma can vary in severity, and individuals with asthma may experience intermittent symptoms or have persistent, ongoing issues. While it can be a serious condition, proper management allows individuals to lead normal, active lives.
Symptoms and Causes
Recognising Asthma Symptoms
Symptoms vary from person to person, with the possibility of exacerbation, known as an asthma attack. Common symptoms include persistent cough and wheezing. Symptoms often worsen at night or during physical activity and may be triggered by factors like colds, weather changes, dust, smoke, and more. Shortness of breath, or dyspnoea, is a characteristic sensation that individuals with asthma frequently experience. Chest tightness, a feeling of pressure or constriction in the chest, adds to the constellation of symptoms, making it challenging for individuals to take deep, satisfying breaths.
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Under-treated cases can lead to sleep disturbance, daytime fatigue, and concentration difficulties. Recognising the diverse nature of these symptoms is crucial for both individuals and healthcare providers. The variability in presentation necessitates a personalized approach to asthma management, empowering individuals to identify and respond effectively to their unique symptom patterns.
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma's origins are complex and multifaceted, often challenging to pinpoint to a singular cause. Genetic factors play a significant role, especially when there is a familial history of asthma, particularly among close relatives like parents or siblings.
Allergic conditions, such as eczema and rhinitis (hay fever), act as companions to asthma, sharing an interconnected web of immune responses. Urbanisation introduces lifestyle factors that contribute to the increased prevalence of asthma, creating an environment where various triggers converge. Events in early life, including low birth weight, prematurity, and exposure to tobacco smoke or air pollution, contribute to asthma development.
Environmental exposures further influence the development of asthma. Allergens and irritants, both indoors and outdoors, like house dust mites, moulds, and occupational exposures to chemicals, fumes, or dust, elevate the risk. Body weight also comes into play, with both children and adults who are overweight or obese facing an elevated risk of developing asthma.
Every breath counts!
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact us today.
Managing Asthma Effectively
Effectively managing asthma is paramount for individuals seeking to lead fulfilling lives while navigating the challenges of this chronic respiratory condition.
Inhalers offer targeted relief by delivering medication directly to the lungs. Two main types of inhalers address distinct aspects of asthma management:
Bronchodilators: These inhalers, exemplified by salbutamol, work swiftly to open constricted air passages, providing immediate relief from symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath.
Steroids: Inhalers containing steroids, such as beclomethasone, play a crucial role in reducing inflammation within the air passages. By curbing inflammation, these inhalers not only alleviate symptoms but also minimise the risk of severe asthma attacks and associated complications.
Consistency in medication usage is pivotal. Tailoring the treatment frequency to the individual's symptom patterns ensures optimal control. Overcoming challenges in inhaler use, particularly for children or during emergencies, can be facilitated by spacer devices. These devices enhance the delivery of medication to the lungs, making inhalers more accessible and effective.
Staying up-to-date with vaccinations, particularly receiving flu and pneumonia vaccines, is also a crucial preventive measure. Respiratory infections can significantly exacerbate asthma symptoms, and vaccinations provide a protective shield, reducing the risk of these infections and their potential impact on respiratory health.
In addition to medication, non-pharmacological approaches can help reduce symptoms.
Lifestyle Modifications: Recognising and steering clear of triggers is a fundamental aspect of asthma management. Identifying environmental factors that provoke symptoms, such as pollen, dust mites, or air pollution, allows individuals to minimise exposure. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle further supports asthma management. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate hydration contribute to overall well-being and can positively impact respiratory health.
Regular Monitoring: Keeping a vigilant eye on asthma symptoms is essential for early intervention. Regularly monitoring symptoms allows individuals to detect patterns, enabling prompt action when symptoms worsen. This proactive approach can prevent the escalation of symptoms into a full-blown asthma attack.
Treating Asthma in North Lakes
At North Brisbane Sleep and Thoracic, we understand the challenges associated with asthma and are here to empower you on your journey towards effective management and improved respiratory health. Take control of your asthma journey with North Brisbane Sleep and Thoracic. Our dedicated team is ready to guide you towards effective asthma management. Don't let asthma limit your life – contact us today to embark on a path towards better respiratory health.
Contact us to book an appointment
Visit us at either our Clayfield or North Lakes location and experience compassionate care in a comfortable environment, tailored to meet your unique needs.