60 Second Factfile: Asthma
Breathlessness, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing
Living with Asthma
Asthma is a manageable condition, but it does involve a lot of self-care to ensure that attacks are not easily triggered. The primary cause is an inflammation of the airways which restricts breathing, so avoiding irritants like cigarette smoke or spray deodorants is essential. It's also very important for people with asthma to maintain good physical health, as activities which cause breathlessness can result in an asthma attack, which causes the symptoms listed above.
Many people have an inhalation device which allows them to breathe in medication. This medication soothes the inflammation in the airways, making it easier to breathe again. All people with asthma will have one of these, but they are not the only form of treatment; preventative inhalers, oral medications and lifestyle changes are usually also recommended depending on the severity of the condition.
Many people believe that asthma and pet allergies go hand in hand, but this isn't the case. While some people do find pet hair a trigger, it's remarkably uncommon.