Asthma Control Matters

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways often associated with shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, cough, mucus production and airway hyperresponsiveness (triggered by allergens or irritants). Symptoms vary over time and intensify as inflammation and airflow limitations worsen or improve. Objective measurements are required to assess how well your lungs are working and to confirm diagnosis.

A common test used to measure how well your lungs are working is spirometry. This test measures how much air you breathe in (inhale) and out (exhale) and how fast you exhale the air from your lungs. Spirometry is helpful in diagnosing asthma as well as other lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Most types of asthma have a genetic link (~70%), but not all are inherited. A person can develop asthma with no genetic predisposition. For example, genetics play less of a role in adult onset and occupational asthma.

There are a few different types of asthma: adult onset, exercise-induced bronchospasm, allergic asthma, nonallergic asthma, occupational asthma, asthma with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but all are an inflammation of the airways.

An asthma attack is a worsening of symptoms in a short period due to some trigger, causing the bronchial tubes to constrict. During an attack, symptoms may become severe, requiring a rescue inhaler and in some cases emergency medical attention.

Asthma is treated with two different classes of bronchodilators. “Controller” medications are used daily to continuously calm inflammation of the airways and “rescue” inhalers are used in the case of breakthrough symptoms, pre-exercise or pre-exposure to allergens or irritants, or in the case of an asthma attack. Proper inhaler technique and routine use of controller inhalers are the mainstay to asthma treatment.

To find out if you’re using your inhaler properly, book an in-person consultation with our pharmacy team here.

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health-care regimen.