"Asthma is a condition that affects the airways - the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.
Trigger and EffectEdit
"When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes, sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways.
"These reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated - making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.
"It's difficult to say for sure what causes asthma
What we do know is that you're more likely to develop asthma if you have a family history of asthma, eczema or allergies. It's likely that this family history, combined with certain environmental factors, influences whether or not someone develops asthma.
Many aspects of modern lifestyles - such as changes in housing and diet and a more hygienic environment - may have contributed to the rise in asthma over the past few decades. Environmental pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and may play a part in causing some asthma
Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of a child developing asthma. Similarly, children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Adult onset asthma may develop after a viral infection, and irritants found in the workplace may lead to a person developing asthma (known as occupational asthma).
"The usual symptoms of asthma are
- shortness of breath
- tightness in the chest.
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time."
The aim of treatment is to bring Asthma under control. It is done using inhalers, because they deliver the medicine right to the lungs with little ingestion by the body. There are two types of inhaler medicine to treat asthma: Relievers and Preventers. I *think* the product we're looking at is a reliever (Information below from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Asthma/Pages/Treatment.aspx).
"Asthma medicines are usually given by inhalers, which are devices that deliver the drug directly into the airways through your mouth when you breathe in. However, each inhaler works in a slightly different way. You should have training from your GP or nurse in how to use your device. This should be checked at least once a year.
"Some inhalers emit an aerosol jet when pressed [i.e not ours!]. These work better if given through a spacer, which can increase the amount of medication that reaches the lungs and reduces the side effects. Some people find using inhalers difficult, and spacers can help them. However, spacers are often advised even for people who use inhalers well as they improve the distribution of medication in the lungs. Spacers are plastic or metal containers with a mouthpiece at one end and a hole for the inhaler at the other. The medicine is ‘puffed’ into the spacer by the inhaler and then breathed in through the spacer mouthpiece. Spacers are also good for reducing the risk of thrush in the mouth or throat, which can be a side effect of inhaled asthma medicines.
"Reliever inhalers are taken to relieve asthma symptoms quickly. The inhaler usually contains a medicine called a short-acting beta2-agonist. It works by relaxing the muscles surrounding the narrowed airways. This allows the airways to open wider, making it easier to breathe again. Examples of reliever medicines include salbutamol and terbutaline. They are generally safe medicines with few side effects, unless over used. However, they should rarely be necessary if asthma is well controlled, and anyone needing to use them three or more times a week should have their treatment reviewed.
Everyone with asthma should be given a reliever inhaler, also known simply as a reliever. It is often blue.
"Preventer inhalers work over time to reduce the amount of inflammation and ‘twitchiness’ in the airways and prevent asthma attacks occurring. You will need to use the preventer inhaler daily for some time before you gain the full benefit. You may still occasionally need the reliever inhaler (usually blue) to relieve symptoms, but if you continue to need them often, your treatment should be reviewed.
The preventer inhaler usually contains a medicine called an inhaled corticosteroid. Examples of preventer medicines include beclometasone, budesonide, fluticasone and mometasone. Preventer inhalers are often brown, red or orange.
Preventer treatment is normally recommended if you:
- have asthma symptoms more than twice a week
- wake up once a week due to asthma symptoms
- have to use a reliever inhaler more than twice a week
Smoking can reduce the effects of preventer inhalers.
Inhaled corticosteroids can occasionally cause a mild fungal infection (oral thrush) in the mouth and throat, so rinse your mouth thoroughly after inhaling a dose.
"Relievers are a safe and effective medicine and have few side effects, as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands, headache and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
"Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially over long-term use. The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection (oral candidiasis) of the mouth or throat. You may also develop a hoarse voice. Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects. Also, rinse your mouth or clean your teeth after taking your preventer inhaler.