Although asthma can’t be cured it can be well controlled with medication, usually administered in the form of inhalers.
If you have asthma your airways or bronchi, which are hollow tubes that help transport air in and out of the lung, become inflamed and very sensitive. This leads to a contraction of the smooth muscle in the wall of the airway and consequently narrowing of the airway. The inflammation can also result in the build up of mucus within the centre of the airway and increased triggering of cough receptors.
Symptoms include wheezing and a tight chest. As the airways narrow this can lead a high-pitched whistling sound or wheezing and to difficulty in moving air in and out of the lung, which causes breathlessness.
Asthma can develop for the first time in people of all ages. It is more commonly associated with allergy (atopic asthma) in children than in adults. Around a third of children with asthma will go on to have asthma as an adult. Approximately 5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma, which is the equivalent of one in 12 adults and one in 11 children.
You may also need an X-ray to check your lungs.
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In order to diagnose asthma, doctors assess patients’ symptoms, clinical examination findings such as wheeze and they can use breathing measurements such as spirometry and a patient’s diary of home peak flow measurements.
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Your consultant will give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your procedure.
Although asthma can’t be cured it can be well controlled with medication. This is usually administered in the form of inhalers.
One type of medication used are smooth muscle relaxants, which open up the narrowed airways, such as Salbutamol. However this only works for a few hours before its benefits wear off.
The other important medication is inhaled corticosteroids, which are taken regularly, usually twice a day, as a preventative treatment. This is an anti-inflammatory medication and so really targets the root of the problem.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After asthma tests your consultant will be available for follow up appointments to monitor your condition. Your results will also be referred back to your GP who can manage your ongoing treatment plan if requested.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
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