About 1 in 10 australians suffer with asthma. It is a common condition that can have significant impact on your quality of life and future health. It is therefore important to diagnose and treat.
The clinic offers a comprehensive assessment of your asthma and allergy. This involves confirming your diagnosis if necessary with a breathing test called spirometry. The severity of your asthma and how well it is controlled will be reviewed. Your current treatment regime will also be studied and revised if appropriate. The specialists have access to new treatments for severe asthma including research trials. The clinic also has an allergy service to investigate whether allergy is a contributing factor to your asthma. But first let us explain a little bit about your asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition where your airways are inflamed and sensitive to certain triggers including infections, smoke, food, cold weather and exercise. When asthma is triggered, muscles around your airways tighten and there is more mucus and inflammation leading to a narrowing of the airways. This causes symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing . This process can occur very quickly (over minutes- asthma attack) or slowly (over hours to weeks).
Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed with easy to use and simple medications. Ideally you should have no asthma symptoms, not be bothered at night by your asthma, have no problems in exercise and not require any steroids or hospital admissions. If these are occurring you need to see your GP for further review.
How to diagnose asthma?
The first step is to confirm the diagnosis. This can be done with a simple breathing test called spirometry, or a more complex test called a bronchocoprovocation test, which is also a type of breathing test. Another way is by monitoring your peak flow over a few weeks and documenting these results on a peak flow chart that can be found on the website below, or given to you by your doctor.
How to treat asthma?
There are a number of steps in managing asthma. The most important of this is to ensure that you are using your inhalers (relievers and preventers) correctly and on a regular basis as prescribed. The first line treatment for asthma is inhaled steroids: these help to reduce the inflammation in your lungs. Other inhaled treatments are also available and may be combined with your inhaled steroids. There are many different inhaler devices and you should have a chat with your specialist to determine which one is appropriate for you. Other treatment options for more severe asthmatics include certain tablets, injectable therapies, or more invasive types of treatment.