What is Asthma?

  • Asthma is a functional disease. This causes your airways to narrow and swell, producing excess mucus and shortness of breath intermittently.
  • Sometimes asthma is just a minor nuisance while exercising or during a cold, whilst for other it can lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
  • More than 2.7million Australians have asthma, yet only 20% of them have an asthma management plan, which can reduce the chance of developing long-term and serious asthma-related issues.
  • Asthma is related closely to sinus infections, salicylate allergies and fungal diseases that can be found in potting mix.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Symptoms of asthma include:

  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is common in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing made worse by the flu or a cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Sleeping difficulties caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Needing to use occasional quick relief inhaler more often, or increased difficulty breathing are signs of worsening asthma.
  • Sometimes asthma “flares up” in certain situations such as exercise, cigarette smoke, some medications such as Aspirin or exposure to chemical fumes or chlorine
    Allergy-induced asthma can be triggered by dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, grass.
  • At SRS we are well equipped to test and treat for allergies in adults
    Weather conditions such as a thunderstorm, when there is a lot of pollen in the air can also trigger asthma.

What are the treatments for asthma?

Getting a proper diagnosis is very important.
Any signs of coughing or wheezing that last more than a few days should be evaluated medically as treating asthma early can prevent long-term lung damage.

Asthma treatments generally involve preventer medications used every day, and quick-relief inhalers that are used when asthma strikes.
If you find yourself relying on quick relief inhalers more than three times a week, your asthma is not under control and you should have it reviewed.

Asthma treatments frequently change over time and if you underuse or overuse medications asthma can worsen, so don’t try to solve the problem by taking more medication or stopping your medication suddenly because you feel your coughing or wheezing has increased or stopped.
Always discuss increasing or tapering with your doctor or respiratory physician.

It’s also important to avoid your triggers if they are smoking, cold air, air pollution or pollens whilst mowing the grass.

For patients with severe asthma and asthma not responding to inhalers now there is funded treatment in the form of monthly injections called immunotherapy.

To qualify for this type of treatment you need to be under the care of a specialist Respiratory Physician.