What is Asthma?
Asthma is a lung condition where the tubes carrying air into the lung are narrowed and inflamed. Sometimes there is a clear trigger for example an allergy to pollens or dust mite or damp. In other cases, there is no identifiable trigger. There are many types of asthma affecting all age groups.
What are the different types of Asthma?
There is Allergic Asthma which is very common in childhood. Seasonal Asthma is a type of Allergic Asthma with symptoms occurring at a particular time of the year, linked to inhaling pollens. There is non-allergic Asthma with no clear link to a specific allergen. There is Occupational Asthma which means symptoms are triggered in the workplace.
What symptoms are associated with Asthma?
These vary from individual to individual. Some patients have no symptoms except when they pick up a cold or exercise. Other people experience wheeze, cough, breathlessness and chest tightness.
How is Asthma diagnosed?
The doctor will listen to your story and hear about your symptoms. After they have listened to your chest, you may be asked to breathe into a peak flow meter or a lung function machine. Blood tests may be helpful to look for a type of white blood cell called the eosinophil which can be elevated in Asthma. Allergy blood tests can also be useful. A Chest Xray can help.
How is Asthma treated?
The standard treatment is inhaler therapy. Medication targeted directly into the bronchial tubes.