Living with asthma

Asthma can be dangerous, but it can also be manageable - here's what you need to know


What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects your lungs, causing a restriction to your breathing. The airways become narrower and inflamed which leads to shortness of breath. The symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, a persistent cough (especially during the night), wheezing and a tight feeling or pain in the chest. During an asthma attack, these symptoms escalate to the point of having difficulty breathing. If an inhaler doesn’t provide relief during an attack then contact emergency services right away.

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How is Asthma treated?

Inhalers are the main form of treatment for asthma. Reliever inhalers (such as a Ventolin Evohaler or Salamol Easi-Breathe) are most common, releasing the medicine to your lungs to combat symptoms quickly and allow your breathing to return to normal. If you need to use your inhaler three times a week or more, then a preventer inhaler will also be prescribed. This works to soothe inflamed airways and prevent symptoms from occurring.


How to cope with Asthma

After being diagnosed with asthma, your doctor will work out a treatment plan with you to identify how best to deal with your symptoms and possible triggers. The condition affects everyone differently. While some sufferers only have mild symptoms, others have severe asthma which can have a significant effect on their daily lives. It’s important to follow the guidance your own doctor has given you to make sure you are managing your symptoms correctly.

Identifying triggers that are causing your symptoms can help your asthma feel more manageable. Some common triggers include allergies, smoke and pollution, certain medicines, cold weather, damp and exercise. Even if you cannot avoid triggers, knowing how they affect you means that you can be prepared.


Dealing with Asthma at work

It’s a good idea to let your employer know if you suffer from asthma. They can take measures to help you avoid any potential triggers and knowing in advance means they are forewarned should an attack occur or if you need to take time off for doctor’s appointments. If your workplace has occupational health, they can make sure your working environment is tailored to your needs.

If your asthma has developed because of your work this is called occupational asthma. Your employer has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to remove triggers factors to ensure a safe place of work. It may also be possible to claim compensation if you feel that your work has caused you to develop asthma.


Looking after yourself

Being diagnosed with asthma shouldn’t stop you from living your life. Making sure you use your inhaler properly, carrying it with you and having an action plan for what to do in an emergency will help to ease your mind and your symptoms. Avoiding smoking and other preventable triggers and eating properly will benefit your overall health and help your body to manage your condition. Reaching out and talking to others is important if you are worried about your symptoms or unsure about anything. Contact Dr Felix today to find out how we can help you manage your asthma.

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