How to Manage Asthma

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) illness that needs ongoing medical management. It can be life-threatening if not properly managed.

The cause of asthma is not known, but it is likely that allergies play a major role in many cases. People with allergies are more likely to have asthma, and they are also more likely to have other allergic conditions, such as eczema and rhinitis (hay fever). Other factors that may increase the risk of developing asthma include being born prematurely or with low birth weight, smoking and exposure to environmental allergens and irritants, especially those found in indoor environments such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, mold, and chemicals. The condition is more common among children and among people of African American, Hispanic, or Caribbean descent. It is also more prevalent in people who have other family members with asthma and in people who work with chemicals or in industrial environments.

Symptoms of Asthma include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness of the chest. It can affect your daily activities, school or work, and even interrupt sleep and lead to an emergency room visit or hospitalization. It can cause serious or life-threatening complications, including respiratory arrest and death.

If you have asthma, there are medicines to prevent and control symptoms. These medicines are called long-term control medicines, and they help prevent flare-ups by reducing inflammation in the airways. Long-term control medicines are breathed in (inhaled) or taken by mouth. They include steroids and long-acting beta agonists, leukotriene modifiers, and mast cell stabilizers. Sometimes immunomodulators, which directly alter the immune system, are used.

There are also quick-relief medicines to use when your symptoms are acting up. These medicines are breathed in through an inhaler and include bronchodilators that relax and widen the airways, and anticholinergics. They are often used in combination with a long-term control medicine.

Other medicines, such as those to treat infections or other diseases that can make asthma worse, are also important to manage your condition. For example, sinus infections and acid reflux disease can make your asthma symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor about managing these other health problems.

Using all the tools of your management plan, even when you feel fine, is the best way to prevent and control asthma symptoms. It’s important to follow the steps in your action plan, and talk to your doctor if you are having problems with your treatment. Your doctor will give you a personalized asthma plan, and doing everything in the plan will prevent flare-ups and keep you out of the emergency room. Ask your doctor to explain your plan so that you understand why each step is important. This will help you stay motivated to stick with your management plan, even when you are feeling fine. Setting a schedule for taking your medicines and following your action plan will help you remember to take the right amount each day. Set up a reminder on your phone or calendar, and try to keep the same routine every day.

Should you wish to discuss your condition with an experienced Australian trained Doctor or expert in this area. Please book in for an online and Telehealth consultation. Phenix Health is always available when you need us 24/7. Contact