Asthma is a permanent inflammation of the lungs. This inflammation causes the tubes in your lungs to narrow, which can result in you feeling very short of breath. Asthma can be hereditary, but it can also be caused by an allergy to something. You will usually suffer from it during the first few years of life, but asthma can also manifest itself at a later age.
With asthma you can:
- Be short of breath.
- Cough for a long time.
- Have a wheeze.
- Have periods when you have to cough a lot and for a long time.
- Feel tired.
- Be less fit.
An asthma attack can be triggered by:
- Certain pain relievers, such as NSAIDS or aspirins.
- Paint fumes.
- Certain perfumes.
- A cold.
- The flu.
Once you have asthma, there is unfortunately no cure. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the symptoms of asthma.
- Don’t smoke and avoid areas where people are smoking. Also make sure your family, friends and acquaintances know about your asthma, so they can take this into account.
- Make sure you get plenty of exercise. Extreme sports can make you feel short of breath, but it’s important for you to build up and maintain your fitness. You can do this by starting off with a good warm up and slowly building up the exercising. We also recommend breathing in and out slowly when exercising.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. You can obtain advice from a dietician if you’re having trouble doing this on your own.
- Find out what you’re allergic to and obtain advice from your GP if necessary. You could be allergic to house dust mites. This allergy often plays a role in asthma.
- Reduce the dust and humidity levels in your home. Vacuum regularly and make sure you ventilate your home well. We would also recommend drying your laundry outside and opening up your bedding every morning.
- Use the asthma medication prescribed by your GP.
You should contact your GP if:
- You suspect you or your child have asthma. Your GP will advise you on the next steps and prescribe the correct medication.
- Your medication is not working.
- Your symptoms are not improving or getting worse.
- You’re short of breath when you’re not exerting yourself, or have not exerted yourself.
- You have trouble talking.
- You’re experiencing rapid breathing.
- Your heart rate is very fast.