Asthma Treatment

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If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you know how debilitating a condition it can be. However, there are various kinds of asthma treatment available to make living with asthma that much easier.

At Manse Medical, we provide both diagnosis and treatment for asthma, as well as other respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which we will elaborate on in this article.

What is asthma?

Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease in the world, affecting more than 300 million people (and 1 in 9 Australians), in which environmental triggers cause an immune reaction that results in the inflammation of the lungs, the narrowing of the trachea and a buildup of excess mucus.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The inflammation and narrowing of the airways caused by asthma results in the following symptoms;

  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Tight feeling in the chest
  • Continuing cough

These symptoms vary in severity, with the most severe requiring immediate medical intervention, as asthma attacks can be potentially life threatening.

What causes asthma in people?

While we have yet to determine the exact cause of asthma, many risk factors have been identified, such as;

  • Family history, as you’re more likely to develop asthma if you have a parent with asthma
  • Conditions stemming from allergies, such as eczema or hay fever
  • Viral respiratory infections, particularly in infants and children
  • Exposure to certain elements in the workplace such as dust or chemical fumes
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive air pollution
  • Obesity, regardless of age

What triggers asthma in people?

Common asthma triggers include;

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dust mites
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Pests (e.g. cockroaches, mice)
  • Pets that incite allergic reactions
  • Mold
  • Cleaning and disinfectants

Other less common asthma triggers include;

  • Sinus infections
  • Pollen
  • Chemical inhalation
  • Acid reflux
  • Physical exercise
  • Some medications
  • Bad weather
  • Thunderstorms or high humidity
  • Breathing in cold, dry air
  • Some foods or additives
  • Fragrances

How does asthma affect sleep?

Because asthma affects breathing, it can be difficult to sleep for asthmatics, as interruptions in breathing cause the body to wake up. Constant interruptions result in fragmented and inadequate sleep, which can lead to health complications down the line, as well as impaired focus and concentration in the short term.

How is asthma diagnosed by Manse Medical?

At Manse Medical, we conduct a series of lung function tests to detect and diagnose asthma. These include;

  • Spirometry, breathing into a device called a spirometer
  • DLCO Gas Transfer, taking a deep breath and holding it for approximately 10 seconds
  • Lung Volume Test, which involves an airtight container that the respiratory specialist guides you with breathing exercises
  • Bronchial Provocation Test, which mimics the process of introducing environmental triggers for asthma in a controlled environment
  • 6 Minute Walk Test, which assesses your lungs after walking at a normal pace for six minutes

What are the medications used to treat asthma?

The National Asthma Council of Australia lists several medications that treat asthma on their website. These medications are inhaled using inhalers, turbuhalers, accuhalers, etc.

  • Short acting beta-agonists (SABA) are used to quickly relieve symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing.
  • ICS PreventersInhaled corticosteroids (ICS), a type of steroid that is inhaled to reduce the inflammation and sensitivity of the airways, which prevents the likelihood of further symptoms.
  • Short acting muscarinic antagonists (SAMA) work similarly to SABA, in that they are used to provide short term relief of symptoms. However, while SABA targets the beta-2 receptor in the airways, SAMA targets the muscarinic receptor.
  • Non Steroidal Preventers, an orally taken medication that provides treatment for asthma symptoms that doesn’t involve inhalation, working by blocking substances in the lungs known as leukotrienes that cause narrowing and swelling of airways.
  • Long acting beta agonists (LABA), which are versions of SABA that work in the long term as a preventative bronchodilator to relax smooth muscles in the airways, thus preventing asthma and COPD symptoms.
  • Long acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA), long acting variations on SAMA medication.
  • Combinations of the above treatments which are inhaled at once through a single peripheral.

What else can help treat Asthma and COPD?

In addition to the medications listed above, there are other ways to aid the treatment of asthma and COPD symptoms. These include the following;

  • Stopping smoking, as not only does smoking cause damage to various parts of the pulmonary system, it also severely hampers the effectiveness of any asthma  medication.
  • Annual influenza vaccination reduces the likelihood of asthma attacks, such as pneumococcal vaccination as well as inactive influenza vaccine.
  • It is important to make sure that one is using their asthma inhaler correctly.
  • Guidelines recommend a written action plan as a component of self-management in asthma that should include the patient’s usual treatment and instructions on how to respond to deterioration.


Asthma FAQs

What are the common symptoms of asthma?

Common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, which is characterised by a whistling sound during breathing, shortness of breath, coughing—especially prominent at night or early morning—and chest tightness. These symptoms result from the inflammation of the airways, a hallmark of asthma.

Can asthma be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for asthma. However, with proper management and treatment, individuals with asthma can lead normal, active lives. Medications, such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs, play a crucial role in controlling symptoms and preventing asthma attacks.

Can asthma attacks be prevented?

While asthma attacks cannot always be completely prevented, proactive measures significantly reduce the risk. Identifying and avoiding triggers, adhering to prescribed medications, and having an asthma action plan are essential steps. Regular medical check-ups help ensure optimal asthma management.

Can children outgrow asthma?

Asthma is generally considered a lifelong condition. Symptoms of asthma may resolve as people enter adolescence and young adulthood, but they can recur later in life. For this reason, people with a history of childhood asthma need to be vigilant regarding any symptoms that may suggest that the asthma that caused them trouble in childhood may be reoccuring. Consistent medical monitoring is vital for effective management and early intervention if symptoms reoccur.

Is asthma contagious?

No, asthma is not contagious. It is a chronic condition arising from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Asthma is not spread through contact with individuals experiencing symptoms, making it important to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions.

What is an asthma action plan?

An asthma action plan is a personalised guide provided by healthcare professionals. It outlines daily asthma management and specific steps to take during worsening symptoms or an asthma attack. This plan empowers individuals to recognize and respond effectively to changes in their condition.

Can you have asthma and not know it?

Yes, asthma symptoms can be mild or intermittent, leading some individuals to not realise they have the condition. It’s important to seek medical attention if experiencing recurrent respiratory symptoms for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

What is an asthma exacerbation?

An asthma exacerbation, also known as an asthma attack, occurs when asthma symptoms worsen abruptly. It can be triggered by exposure to allergens, irritants, infections, or non-adherence to prescribed medications. Prompt intervention is crucial during an exacerbation.

How can I contact Manse Medical to get a diagnosis for my asthma?

At Manse Medical, we provide both high-quality diagnosis and treatment for respiratory disorders such as asthma. Book your appointment online by selecting your preferred clinic and choosing from the list of available specialists.

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