Asthma Part 1
Asthma is a long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing and breathlessness. Earlier in 2021, I discussed new medication recently on the market for severe asthma. Over the next few weeks in the Topic, I give a more general overview of asthma.
The airways become over-sensitive and react to stimuli that would normally not cause a problem, such as cold air or dust. Muscles around the wall of the airway tighten up, making it narrow and difficult for air to flow in and out. The lining of the airway’s swells, and sticky mucus is produced. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out. Tightening of muscle around the airways can happen quickly and is the most common cause of mild asthma. The tightening of muscle can be relieved with a reliever inhaler. However, the swelling and build-up of mucus happens more slowly and needs a different treatment.
There is a strong genetic link. If a parent has asthma, the risk of their child getting it doubles. If both parents have it, it doubles again.
Asthmatics who also have hayfever find that their symptoms get worse during hayfever symptoms. Between 60 and 80% of asthma asthmatics also experience hayfever.
- Difficulty in breathing/shortness of breath.
- A tight feeling in the chest.
- Wheezing (a whistling noise in the chest).
- Coughing, particularly at night.
These symptoms may occur in episodes, perhaps brought on by colds or chest infections, exercise, change of temperature, dust, or other irritants in the air, or by an allergy e.g., pollen or animals. Episodes at night are common, often affecting sleep.
Any-thing that irritates the airways and brings on the symptoms of asthma is called a trigger. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, exercise, cold air and chest infections. Other triggers which are less common include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, emotional factors such as stress, sulphites in some foods and drinks (found in certain wines and used as a preservative in some foods such as fruit juices and jam), mould or damp in houses and food allergies (eg) nut allergy.
Asthmatics are at more risk from COVID-19. Ask your doctor if you are eligible for the second Covid 19 booster. Whelehans Pharmacy Pearse St have a weekly walk-in clinic for Covid-19 boosters. Call 0449334591 for more info.
To be continued…next week
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