Australia has one of highest rates of asthma in the world. Approximately one in 10 Australians suffer from asthma, and one in every four or five children will have asthma during their childhood. Many childhood asthma sufferers find that their symptoms significantly lessen or disappear by the time they reach adulthood. People can also develop asthma for the first time as adults, simply because of a change in their environment. If you have developed a persistent annoying dry cough, this may be a sign of asthma.
Asthma is a disorder caused by inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. They become red and swollen and secrete mucus (the same process occurs in the nose and sinuses of hayfever sufferers). The muscles lining the airways go in to spasm, which obstructs breathing, causing tightness in the chest, and a wheezing noise. This is referred to as an asthma "attack". Common triggers for asthma include respiratory infections, cold weather, inhaled allergens such as pollens and house dust mite, exercise and cigarette smoke.
Poorly managed asthma can be chronically disabling, however, with good medication now available, there is no need to put up with the symptoms of asthma. Underestimating a severe asthma attack can result in hospitalisation or death.
How We Care
Our Doctors manage asthma in partnership with you. It is important for them to define its severity and step medication up or down accordingly. Lung function testing is available at Globe Medical, and can be used to diagnose asthma as well as to monitor how well it is being treated. Once you have been diagnosed with asthma, you must be educated about recognizing symptoms that tell you when you are headed for trouble.
Identifying the likely triggers for your asthma attacks goes a long way to helping prevent them. Asthma management plans are held by you and devised with the help of your doctor. They are a useful reminder about how to proceed when you feel your asthma is deteriorating. Early step-up intervention keeps sufferers out of hospital.
Patient and family education about asthma, including identifying an asthma attack, responding to an asthma attack, and appropriate preventative measures, is vital in reducing its negative impact on quality of life.