People often treat their asthma as a short-term condition that comes and goes. But asthma is a chronic condition that is always there, even when you don’t experience any symptoms.
One in nine people in Australia has asthma. It affects people of all ages. Some people get asthma when they are young; others when they are older.
Asthma cannot be cured, but for most people it can be well controlled by following a daily management plan.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a long-term lung condition. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers, causing a ‘flare-up’. In a flare-up, the muscles around the airway squeeze tight, the airways swell and become narrow and there is more mucus making it more difficult to breathe.
Asthma Australia has compiled a handy asthma checklist to ensure asthma sufferers are taking the right steps to live well with asthma.
Visit your doctor for an asthma review
Your doctor can:
assess your current level of asthma control
make sure you are on the right medicines to manage your asthma (e.g. a preventer)
check your inhaler technique
ensure your Asthma Action Plan is up-to-date.
Take the Asthma Control Test
If you have experienced any of the following in the last four weeks, it indicates your asthma may not be under good control:
daytime asthma symptoms more than 2 days per week
need for reliever more than 2 days per week
any limitation on activities due to asthma symptoms
any asthma symptoms during the night or on waking.
Take the Asthma Control Test here
Preventer – every day when well
Most adults with asthma should have preventer medication. Daily use of a preventer is key to keeping well. Regular use of your preventer makes the airways less sensitive and will reduce your symptoms.
Check your device technique
Up to 90% of people are thought to use their inhalers incorrectly, which means the dose of medicine isn’t getting into the lungs. Ask your doctor to check that you are using your inhaler medication device correctly.
Get a written Asthma Action Plan
Work with your doctor, develop and follow a written Asthma Action Plan for:
What are the symptoms of asthma?
A person’s asthma symptoms can vary over time - sometimes they will have no symptoms, especially when their asthma is well-controlled. Symptoms often vary from person to person, but they are most commonly:
If you are not sure if you have asthma you should see your doctor. If you do have asthma it is important that you keep it under control to ensure optimal enjoyment of life and health and wellbeing.
Please contact your GP today, they are happy to discuss options with you and can formulate a tailored care plan to suit your asthma needs.