Understanding asthma… Is the first step to controlling it

Here’s the good news. If you have asthma, by taking control of the condition you can significantly reduce your symptoms. Your asthma shouldn’t stop you doing the things you want to do… all you need to do it be positive, keep control and enjoy life.

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways in the lungs. These get inflamed and then they become narrow and start to swell, reducing airflow. Sometimes phlegm is produced which narrows the airways even more and makes it difficult to breathe. The most common symptoms are:

  • Coughing, especially first thing in the morning and at night
  • Getting short of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling tight in the chest

    These symptoms are all caused by your own personal ‘trigger(s)’. There are a number of things that could trigger your asthma, and different people have different triggers. In some cases it could be obvious what’s doing it, but sometimes it could take a little longer to work out.

    Click here for more information on the most common triggers of asthma and tips on how you can avoid them and keep your symptoms under control.

    When you’re in control… you’ll have few symptoms and little risk of an attack

    If you notice your asthma symptoms becoming worse and you answer ‘yes’ to any of these three questions, your asthma may not be well controlled:

    • Have you had difficulty sleeping because of your asthma or cough?
    • Have you had symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or a tight chest during the day?
    • Has your asthma interfered with your normal everyday activities?

    Another sign that your asthma may not be under control is suddenly needing to use your reliever inhaler more often than usual.

    We can also give you lots of advice and support on managing your asthma so you can get on and enjoy your life to the full. Just pop into our local Lloydspharmacy for more information.

    Get the maximum benefit from your medicines

    To do this you’ll need to make sure you use your inhalers and medicines as directed by your doctor. Preventer inhalers (usually brown) work by controlling the swelling and inflammation of the airways. It takes time for the protected action to build up so you must make sure you use your preventer regularly, even when you’re feeling well.

    Understand how to use your inhalers correctly

    Come in store and ask your pharmacy team who’ll be able to do a simple technique check to make sure you’re getting the most out of your inhalers. And make sure you have regular reviews with you doctor.

    Make sure you have an up to date action plan

    If you don’t, ask your doctor or practice nurse for one. This will tell you what to do to feel better if you asthma gets worse, such as doubling up on preventer inhaler doses.

    Understand your peak flow meter reading

    If you use a peak flow meter, you need to know what a good and bad reading are for you. So record your results in a diary and take it with you to any reviews you have.

    Always carry your reliever inhaler

    It pays to have it on hand if you need it. It is better to use it at the first signs of wheezing than to wait for your breathing to get really bad.

    Managing Asthma
    Spacers and Peak Flow Meters
    Staying healthy
    Children and asthma