The 10 most frequently asked questions about Smoking
- What is asthma?
- What is an asthma attack?
- What are the symptoms?
- Is it dangerous?
- What causes asthma?
- Is it hereditary?
- Can it be cured?
- hen do attacks occur?
- What do you do in case of an attack?
- What treatments are available?
Asthma is a relatively common condition which can cause severe breathing difficulties such as wheezing or coughing. Sometimes these problems can develop into what is known as an 'asthma attack', which usually occurs when a patient comes into contact with an irritant such as chemicals, smoke or dust.
When an asthma sufferer comes into contact with a trigger such as pollution or dust, the airways to the lungs can constrict, causing wheezing and coughing episodes known as asthma attacks. They can be dangerous if they are not managed immediately with a reliever inhaler.
Asthma symptoms are not necessarily linked to attacks and some patients may experience tightness in the throat, shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing, particularly when doing exercise or when in an area that is high in pollution. The symptoms may also appear during the night, particularly in small children. A doctor can diagnose asthma by performing a few simple tests to measure lung capacity and determine whether an inhaler treatment is the most effective treatment for that specific case.
Asthma can be dangerous when left untreated, as more severe attacks can completely impair a patient's ability to breathe. Usually when asthma is diagnosed, an inhaler is prescribed which will usually be a reliever. This is a type of medication which can be used during an attack for immediate effect. If you are suffering from asthma symptoms and you are not taking any medication to control it, it is important to speak to a doctor. You should also see a doctor if your treatment is not working as it should and you are still having regular attacks.
There is no known cause for asthma although there are various factors which contribute to the risk of developing the condition. Some experts think that mothers who smoke during pregnancy increase the risks of having asthmatic children. Pollution and certain chemicals can also increase the risks of asthma although most sufferers are born with a pre-disposition to the condition, which can be triggered later in life.
Although there is no clear genetic link between asthma patients, doctors believe it does run in families however external factors are also believed to be responsible – at least in part – for the high numbers of asthma sufferers.
There is no cure for asthma, but most patients are able to control the symptoms effectively and lead normal lives. It can be easily managed with the right medication and a few lifestyle changes to avoid anything which may trigger an attack. There are certain medications which can be prescribed in order to avoid attacks altogether. These are known as preventer inhalers and they work by limiting the swelling of the lungs and constriction of airways on a daily basis.
Attacks can occur when an asthma sufferer comes into contact with one of the stimulants which can be contained in certain scents, smoke, chemicals, dust or allergies to food or animals. They can also occur when a patient is under a lot of stress or doing exercise. Most people will know their triggers and be able to avoid them in order to limit the chances of an attack.
Most asthma patients are advised to carry a reliever inhaler with them at all times, so that if an attack occurs it can be controlled with the medication. Asthma sufferers can usually recognise the symptoms of an impending attack and can take quick action to avoid it escalating. However, if the breathing becomes excessively strained and the attack becomes serious, emergency medical services should be contacted.
Most treatments for asthma are dispensed in the form of an inhaler and the medicine usually contains steroids for anti-inflammatory purposes. The two main types of medication are preventer inhalers and reliever inhalers.
Preventer inhalers are used once a day in order to control the symptoms and limit the chances of suffering from an attack, whilst reliever inhalers are used to help with breathing during an attack and have immediate effect.