Asthma is the inflammation and narrowing of small airways in the lungs, commonly affecting children and adults alike, and is the most common chronic disease in children.
Asthma causes the bronchial tubes to become inflamed and narrowed, which can result in difficulty breathing and limiting airflow. Those suffering from asthma find the muscles surrounding the airways of the lungs, which are normally relaxed, become sensitive and inflamed.
During an asthma attack, the airways are already inflamed and can become even more constricted, obstructing airflow to the lungs, which requires the sufferer to take medications that will help loosen the muscles around the airways.
At Brintnell Pharmacy and Travel Clinic, our pharmacists have the necessary experience and knowledge to help you manage your asthma. While asthma can’t be cured, it can be well managed and controlled with the right steps, precautions, and medications prescribed by a healthcare professional, helping to minimize your symptoms.
Typically, asthma is treated with inhaled medications, taken daily, to control and treat persistent inflammation of the airways. In addition, those with asthma should carry a rescue inhaler called a bronchodilator that relaxes the muscles in the lungs and opens the airways thereby making breathing easier.
When a person relies on their reliever inhalers too often, the asthma is considered not to be under control, and further advice from your primary healthcare provider (a medical doctor, a pharmacist, or a nurse practitioner) should be sought.
Symptoms of asthma can include:
- Regular coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Increased production of mucus
- Breathing difficulty resulting in trouble sleeping
- Breathing difficulty resulting in difficulty taking part in strenuous physical activity, such as sports or exercise
A wide variety of factors can result in an increased risk of developing asthma, though it can be difficult to identify a single, direct cause. Factors increasing the risk of developing asthma can include:
- Genetics (family history of asthma)
- Allergic conditions like hay fever (rhinitis) and eczema
- Early life events which affect developing lungs, including premature birth, low birth weight, exposure to air pollution, exposure to tobacco smoke, viral respiratory infections, and more
- Environmental allergens like household dust mites, mold, air pollution, chemicals, fumes, and more
Environmental factors can result in asthma triggers, worsening asthma symptoms, or increasing the occurrence of asthma attacks. Asthma management includes properly monitoring triggers and avoiding them as much as possible.
With proper management, those with asthma can live their lives free of symptoms.
That said, it’s important to always carry a reliever medication in case of an asthma attack as it is likely impossible to avoid triggers entirely. Common asthma triggers can include:
- Pet dander
- Food additives and allergies
- Air pollutants
- Viral infections
- Emotional stress