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Symptoms, Causes & Treatment of Asthma

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Asthma is one of the most common long-term conditions in the UK, affecting millions of people across the country.

It affects the airways, leading to tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and regular bouts of coughing and wheezing.

While most people with asthma are able to manage their condition, sometimes symptoms can suddenly get worse, leading to what’s known as an ‘asthma attack’.

If you think you may have asthma, it’s recommended that you speak to a GP. Similarly, you should also seek medical advice if your symptoms suddenly get worse or you’re having difficulty managing them.

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Asthma: Causes

The causes of asthma can differ from person to person, but the condition leads to inflammation of tiny tubes within your lungs called bronchi. This leads to them becoming particularly sensitive and when something triggers irritation, the airways narrow and mucus production goes into overdrive.

Asthma tends to run in families and you can be at greater risk of developing the condition if you were born prematurely, had a low birth weight, your mother smoked during pregnancy, or you were exposed to second-hand smoke while young.

The condition can also develop in adults, particularly those who are exposed to substances that cause an allergic reaction and can trigger asthma in the course of their work.

While the majority of asthma symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment, in many cases, it’s likely to be a long-term condition. Those with severe asthma may experience a constant narrowing of their airways and a range of regular issues.

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Asthma Treatment

Although there’s no known cure for asthma, there’s several treatments that can help sufferers manage their condition.

One of the most common treatments is the use of medication, usually taken through an inhaler. These include anti-inflammatory drugs, beta agonists and leukotriene modifiers - or a combination of medications.

The other aspect of asthma treatment revolves around recognising and avoiding things that trigger the condition. By working with a medical professional, you’ll be able to put together an action plan to help you recognise situations that make your asthma worse, take steps to avoid these and know what to do in case you experience an attack.

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If you think you might have asthma, or you think your symptoms are getting steadily worse, don’t delay - talk to a doctor today.

Our GPs can discuss your symptoms, work with you to recognise triggers and if needed, prescribe the right kind of medication to help you better manage the condition.

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in case of an asthma attack

What To Do In Case Of An Asthma Attack

  1. Take one to two puffs of your reliever inhaler immediately.
  2. Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths.
  3. If you do not start to feel better, take two puffs of your reliever inhaler (one puff at a time) every two minutes. You can take up to 10 puffs.
  4. If you don’t feel better after taking your inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999.
  5. If an ambulance doesn’t arrive within 10 minutes and you are still feeling unwell repeat step 3.

If you think you may have suffered an asthma attack, you must book an appointment to speak with a doctor within 48 hours. You can then discuss any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

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