10 facts about Asthma

Asthma affects the airways – the network of tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.

Asthma affects 5.4 million people in the UK.  There are currently 1.1 million children being treated for asthma.

The usual symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.

Symptoms of asthma or an asthma ‘attack’ happens when an asthma sufferer comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger).

Though there is no cure for asthma, medicines are available to help control the symptoms of asthma, so that is does not interfere with ‘normal’ daily life.

Asthma is primarily treated with medicines taken via inhalers.  Usually with a combination of preventer and reliever inhalers.

Everyone with asthma should have a reliever inhaler. Reliever inhalers are usually blue.  They are taken when asthma symptoms occur.

If a reliever inhaler is needed three or more times a week, asthma is probably not well controlled.  Patients should go back to their doctor or asthma nurse and have their symptoms reviewed.

Preventer inhalers control the swelling and inflammation in the airways, stopping them from being so sensitive and reducing the risk of severe asthma attacks.  It is important they are taken regularly.

Asthma can affect people at any age and can change over time.

Updated 25 March 2010