Our thanks to Asthma UK for the use of the web copy below. For further information an Asthma please visit the Asthma UK website www.asthma.org.
According to Asthma UK, Asthma is a condition that affects the airways - the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.
When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes, sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways.
These reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated - making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.
It's difficult to say for sure what causes asthma What experts do know is that you're more likely to develop asthma if you have a family history of asthma, eczema or allergies. It's likely that this family history, combined with certain environmental factors, influences whether or not someone develops asthma.
Many aspects of modern lifestyles - such as changes in housing and diet and a more hygienic environment - may have contributed to the rise in asthma over the past few decades. Environmental pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and may play a part in causing some asthma
Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of a child developing asthma. Similarly, children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Adult onset asthma may develop after a viral infection, and irritants found in the workplace may lead to a person developing asthma (known as occupational asthma).
The usual symptoms of asthma are
shortness of breath
tightness in the chest.
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.
89% of people think they have their asthma under control, but in fact 75% aren’t in control at all... or getting the full benefit from their asthma medicines.
It's important to keep in touch with your GP/Practice Nurse if you live with Asthma to ensure your symptoms are well managed. Sadly, a recent poll with 1000 people living with Asthma by a chain of pharmacies suggests, despite Asthma UK’s recommendation for people with asthma to have an annual check-up with their GP/Practice Nurse- almost a third (32%) - and over half (54%) of 16-24 year olds - admitted to not having check-ups as regularly as they should. Almost one in five (18%) - and over a quarter (27%) of 16-24 year olds - had not had a check-up in over a year.
Professor Neil Barnes, a leading asthma expert at Barts and The London NHS Trust tells us: “Most people with asthma should be able to live a normal and unrestricted life if their asthma is under control. However, on a day-to-day basis, I see what can happen when you don’t control your asthma effectively and it can be very frightening and, in some cases, even life-threatening. People need to be better educated about the risks of not managing their condition properly and health professionals are well placed to help improve people's self-management skills. I have overseen a number of clinical trials, which have demonstrated how effective asthma control can help people but unfortunately in daily life this doesn’t translate and many people often fail to control their condition effectively. More regular check-ups will mean that people can monitor their asthma more closely and be prepared to take action in the event of an attack.”
The chain of pharmacies who have conducted the poll -Lloydspharmacy - is running an asthma campaign that is supported by Asthma UK, the charity dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the 5.4 million people in the UK whose lives are affected by asthma. They're recruiting people who have asthma to have a free asthma check-up at one of their outlets across the UK. This check-up uses a device to check if you’re taking your inhaler properly, for you to discuss symptoms and recieve advice on how to get the most from your medicines. Kids get a free Asthma UK 'My Asthma pack' including wall chart, stickers and a useful asthma plan. (These checks are designed to compliment the service provided by your own GP/Healthcare professional to support and help people manage their asthma more effectively.)
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