When you have asthma, your airways are swollen, inflamed and overly sensitive. Asthma symptom include wheezing, cough, chest tightness and breathlessness.
During an attack, your airways become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways tighten. This leads to the worsening of symptoms.
It is important to know what triggers your asthma and how to avoid it. Triggers may vary for different people. Examples of triggers:
- House dust mite
- Foods: like peanuts, dairy products, seafood
- Vigorous exercise like running
- Infections like cold
- Emotional stress and excitement
- Pollution like cigarrete smoke, car exhaust, ozone
- Occupational dusts like plastics, grains, wood, metals
- Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen
- Household products like paint, bleach
There are two main types of medication: Controllers and Relievers. Controllers are used to control airways inflammation and hence prevent asthma attacks. It should be used daily. Relievers are used when needed to relax the airway muscles and keep them open. Frequent use of reliever more than twice a week is a sign of uncontrolled asthma.
Asthma is a variable disease. You may experience difference in symptoms at different times of the day or year. Exposure to triggers may make your asthma worse. It is important to adjust the medications when your asthma is worse or better. Asthma attacks can be prevented very effectively by preventive medicine.
How to control asthma?
- Recognise your triggers and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Recognise the signs of worsening asthma so that you can take appropriate action. If you experience more symptoms than usual, increase medication.
- Understand the role of medications.
- Visit your doctor regularly and review your Asthma Action Plan.
Worried about asthma?