In the UK alone, there are over 18,000 new cases or first episodes of Asthma presented on average each week. Asthma can be life threatening without proper medical intervention and some lifestyle modification.

Exactly what is Asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by difficulty in breathing, chest tightening coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma is usually caused by genetic or environmental factors, although there are some rare cases where asthma is caused by an underlying disease of the respiratory system.

Asthma Statistics (2012)

When it comes to asthma, almost 5.4 million people suffer from this respiratory condition in the UK alone.

Asthma’s prevalence has plateaued since the late 1990s, although the UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe and on average 3 people a day die from asthma.

As horrifying as this sounds, the facts are 9 out of 10 deaths due to asthma are preventable and almost 8 out of 10 hospital admissions are avoidable if proper medical treatment and early recognition of the disease is observed.

Long term effects of Asthma

There currently is no cure for asthma, this is why it is so important for sufferers to take proper measures to manage their condition in order to prevent any unnecessary asthma related incidents.  The chronic nature of asthma can alter the normal physiology of the respiratory system which can lead to long term effects such as:

  • Increased Mucus Secretion – An asthmatic person may experience a structural change of their lung cells and tissues. According to Dr. Hacken and colleagues from the University Hospital Groningen in the Netherlands, this change in the structural formation of the cells can lead to production of excess mucus especially in the air passages which can sometimes disrupt the normal airflow.

  • Activity Intolerance – People suffering from asthma can find their previously active lifestyle slowed down for a bit. This is because asthmatic people absorb less oxygen than those who don’t have asthma. A low oxygen saturation in the body means lesser oxygen to the organs resulting in extreme fatigue and tiredness with even just a simple jog or run.

  • Lung Tissue Scarring – Another long term effect of asthma is tissue lung scarring. This scarification of tissues will further obstruct the airway of the respiratory system which results in a greater obstruction of airflow.

Asthma - Inflamed Bronchus

Medical Management For People Suffering From Asthma

As mentioned above there is still no cure for asthma, but the constant improvements in our health care systems and medical and drug research has given us the following medications to help cope with asthma:

  • Inhalers – Inhalers are special sets of metered or non metered device used to lessen the inflammation of the bronchial tubes and other airway passages.

These medications and treatments are best used under the direct supervision of you GP or Asthma specialist.   You should not attempt to self medicate as it could lead to further complications.

If you would like to speak to an Asthma Nurse then you can do so by calling Asthma UK’s dedicated number 0800 12162 44.  Asthma UK’s website contains a wealth of excellent information for asthma sufferers.