To mark World Asthma Day on May 2, 2023, the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust is promoting the theme of ‘Asthma Care for All’ to make people aware of the symptoms and triggers associated with asthma.
Asthma is a common lung condition caused by swelling (inflammation) of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.
This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow which causes occasional breathing difficulties.
This can happen randomly however it can occur after exposure to a trigger.
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
There are a number of asthma triggers which include; allergies (animal fur or pollen and house dust mites); smoke, air pollution and cold air; exercise; and infections like cold or flu.
It is important to remember that asthma is a serious condition that can cause a number of problems and complications.
There is a risk of severe asthma attacks which can be life threatening, however with the right treatment plan, symptoms can be kept under control.
Asthma is usually treated by using an inhaler, a small device that lets you breathe in medicines, with some people needing to take tablets.
That is why it is vital to follow your personal treatment plan and not ignore your symptoms if they’re getting worse as this can lead to a number of complications, such as; stress, anxiety or depression; disruption of your work and leisure because of unplanned visits to a GP or hospitals; lung conditions (such as pneumonia); and delays in growth or puberty in children.
Consultant respiratory physician, Dr Richard Hewitt has said, “Asthma is a common illness and although it cannot be cured, it is possible to manage asthma to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes or exacerbations.
"Unfortunately for a variety of reasons not all patients with asthma have access to the best available treatments.
"Often this is because we don’t recognise the potential seriousness of the condition or don’t have high enough expectations for how it can be managed.
“On World Asthma Day we would like to remind everyone that asthma does not have to limit your life and the vast majority of people with asthma can have normal, active lives when they learn to control their illness.”
For more information on World Asthma Day 2023, visit the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) website by clicking here.