Asthma is a condition that affects approximately 12% of children and 8% of adults in Canada. It is characterised by chronic lung inflammation (redness, irritation and swelling).
Despite the similarities, it is very important to differentiate asthma from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
The most common symptoms are:
These symptoms can be mild, moderate and/or severe. Symptoms can vary from person to person and from episode to episode. They can also disappear for long periods of time and then reappear.
Some people experience symptoms only when exercising or when they are exposed to cold air, while others suffer during seasonal allergy periods (e.g., hay fever in the spring or fall).
If you have severe asthma symptoms, you must get medical attention immediately.
The following severe symptoms indicate that you need immediate medical attention:
There are several types of asthma triggers.
Asthma and allergies are related, since allergens can trigger an asthma attack. Some 75% of asthma patients also suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever. Allergies can cause the airways in the lungs to swell or the muscles around these airways to tighten. Since seasonal allergies can worsen your symptoms, it is important to treat them as a preventative measure.
These types of triggers include the following:
These triggers do not cause swelling and include the following:
While there is no cure for asthma, it can be effectively managed and controlled. You can become educated about your condition and apply basic techniques to deal with it.
These techniques include:
The goal of your asthma management plan is to effectively control the condition so that you are symptom-free.
While the exact cause of asthma is not known, a family history of asthma, sensitivity and exposure to allergens and other triggers contribute to its onset. Obviously you cannot change your family history, but you can try to reduce your exposure to allergens and other types of triggers.
Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed in most people. The more you know and understand about asthma, the better you will be able to control and manage your condition. Your Accès pharma affiliated-pharmacist can help.
To download the PDF brochure, click here.