Asthma Respiratory Care

Asthma is a condition that affects your airways - the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, your airways are almost always sensitive and inflamed. If these sensitive airways come into contact with an allergen or other 'trigger' (like pollution or smoke) your airways become narrower. When this happens, it becomes harder for you to breathe.

The key issue with asthma is to keep airways as open as possible and to manage 'triggers' for your asthma.

The airways narrow because the muscles around them contract in the presence of a trigger substance or trigger event. The lining of the airway becomes inflamed and may also swell. Sometimes the reaction is further complicated by sticky mucus or phlegm produced by the airways.

The way in which you actually experience asthma symptoms can vary. You may find that you start to cough or wheeze, get short of breath or have a tight feeling in your chest. However, wheezing isn't always the main symptom. In fact, coughing is by far the most common asthma symptom. As the airways tighten and mucus is produced, you feel as if you have something in your airways, so you cough.
While you can have asthma and not have allergies, frequently asthma and allergy go together. One of the main triggers for asthma is the presence of allergens. If this describes you, you are likely taking at least one inhalant drug. The degree to which that drug works is largely dependant on good delivery of the drug directly to the lung tissues. This is where devices such as spacers and nebulizers can be very helpful.

In order to manage your condition effectively, you'll also want to know how open your airways are. This is the advantage of peak flow meters. They allow you to track your own data on the condition of your airways.

Finally, because of the issue of mucus, and anything that would narrow airways further, you might want to consider a steam inhaler. The faster you can move mucus out, the better you will feel.

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