On World Asthma Day we want to raise awareness of asthma and show you where to find support for those who are affected by asthma.This will help to optimise asthma control through support and education.
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways causing a cough,wheezing, breathlessness and tightness in the chest.
HOW COMMON IS ASTHMA?
In Ireland over 470,000 people suffer with asthma, with one person dying from asthma every week. Asthma has a high prevalence in Ireland, which ranks 4th in the asthma incidence world league.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ASTHMA?
The exact cause of asthma is unknown, however we do know that:
Having a blood relative (parent/sibling) with asthma increases the risk for the development of asthma. Exposure to exhaust fumes, chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing, deodorants, perfumes and air fresheners are harmful and can increase risk. Having another allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis or hay fever can significantly increase chances of asthma development. Smoking during pregnancy greatly increases a child’s risk of developing asthma. Other risks include being overweight, post respiratory tract infection, exposure to second hand smoke.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE EARLY SYMPTOMS OF ASTHMA INCLUDING:
- A frequent cough - particularly at night.
- Shortness of breath/losing breath easily.
- Feeling tired/weak when exercising.
- Cold or allergy like symptoms - runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, wheezing.
- Tightening of the chest causing a shortness of breath.
LIVING WITH ASTHMA: ASTHMA MANAGEMENT PLAN
Living with asthma can be challenging as it is a condition that cannot be cured, however with successful asthma management you can go on to lead an active, healthy life. With summer around the corner, keep asthma symptoms at bay with these top tips for living with asthma.
Start with an “Asthma Management Plan” that is focused on controlling your asthma and preventing it from interfering with your everyday life.
- Speak with your doctor about managing your asthma symptoms.
- Knowledge is power! The more you know about your asthma the better you will be at looking after yourself and your health.
- Know what triggers your asthma and learn to avoid these.
- Common triggers include weather conditions, dust, deodorants, perfumes etc.
- Diet and exercise play important roles in managing asthma.
- Eating well and exercising regularly should be part of your asthma management plan.
- Stress is a common asthma trigger that can make you feel anxious and cause shortness of breath. Learning how to manage your stress is important in order to reduce harmful symptoms.
- Keep your home dust free by dusting and hoovering windows, blinds, skirting boards etc. Remove any mould present as this can significantly bring on asthma attacks.
- If you are a smoker - STOP NOW!
- Learn to cope with the challenges and frustrations of living with asthma in a positive way. Day to day living can become more manageable if you find the right support.
There are many online forums that can provide information and support for sufferers of asthma such as www.asthmasociety.ie or free phone 1800-44-54-64 for any advice or queries you may have.
Always remember to speak with your doctor if you feel symptoms of asthma are worsening or becoming more frequent.
Information gathered from The Asthma Association of Ireland