Australia has one of the higest rates of asthma in the world. Understanding this health concern is critical and could save your life or the life of someone you love.
Over 11% of Australians have asthma. That’s 1 in 9 people – which might be you, or someone close to you. Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs, sometimes referred to as chronic respiratory disease. Sufferers know well the feeling that asthma causes when your airways become inflamed and ‘narrow’, making breathing difficult. Although many people first develop asthma during childhood, asthma symptoms can occur at any age and because of a variety of reasons. Adults with newly diagnosed asthma (adult onset asthma) generally encounter persistent symptoms. Flare-ups can occur because of an infection (possibly following a cold or flu), exercise, allergens and air pollution. First signs of asthma will probably include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and trouble breathing.
The most recent statistics indicate that women are more likely to develop asthma after age 20. However, it’s important to note that anyone – at any age – can develop asthma, so if you have concerns, consult a medical professional. It’s thought that obesity may contribute to a person’s risk of developing asthma, and that people who had asthma as a child are also likely to see asthma recur in adulthood. Research indicates that at least 30% of adult asthma cases are triggered by allergies. These can include seasonal allergies, reactions to animals (e.g. cats), and exposure to irritants in the home or work environment like chemicals, dust or mould. Hormonal fluctuations in women may play a role in adult onset asthma. Some women first develop asthma symptoms during or after a pregnancy, and others do so when going through menopause. A bad cold or flu often triggers adult onset asthma too, or symptoms occur after a person battles an illness, virus, or infection.
Regardless of the trigger(s), common symptoms occur that might indicate adult onset asthma. These are:
• A persistent dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers.
• Tightness or pressure in the chest, and difficulty breathing.
• Wheezing when exhaling (a whistling sound when you breathe).
• Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion.
• Colds that go into the chest (and seem particularly bad or worse than everyone else you know); or colds that persist for more than 10 days.
• Any of the above symptoms that keep coming back or happen at the same time each year.
You should talk to a doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible, if you have symptoms that are bothering you, or if you suspect you might have asthma. Asthma contributes to loss of lung function, and if left untreated can worsen over time. If you have any asthma symptoms, don’t ignore them. Asthma Australia shares that asthma claims over 400 Australian lives every year of which 300 are women and 150 are men. There are nearly 40,000 hospitalisations and the highest at risk patients are women aged between 55-64. It’s a condition that you should not take lightly. Consult a healthcare provider who can help to determine why you’ve developed asthma and the best approach for managing your triggers and symptoms in the future.
Practical steps that are likely to be discussed with you include:
• Developing a written asthma care and action management plan.
• Your commitment to regular check-ups and administering appropriate medication.
• Wheezing when exhaling (a whistling sound when you breathe). Education on the type of asthma you're dealing with, how to avoid your know triggers and udnerstanding the medication that you should have on hand to manage flare-ups.
It’s important to get diagnosed properly and as early as possible. Most people who develop adult onset asthma can lead normal lives because with proper care and management, asthma symptoms can be effectively controlled.
If you have any queries or concerns, you can always start by talking to your local pharmacist for advice or have a read of Asthma Australia’s website at https://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/.
*as seen on Get It Magazine, Page 36, September 2019 Edition.
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An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts to a particular substance found in the environment. For most of us the substance (known as an allergen or trigger) is harmless. Common examples of allergens include pollen, dust mites, moulds, medications, and certain foods. Your body’s response to an allergen is called an allergic reaction which can include inflammation, swelling, and redness and the level of the reaction ultimately depends on which part of your body is affected by the allergic reaction.
Allergic rhinitis is a condition in which allergies have caused an inflammation of the lining of the nose. Symptoms resemble those of the common cold, but they are not caused by a viral infection like the common cold as Allergic Rhinitis can be seasonal or persist year-round. On the other end Perennial Allergic Rhinitis is a hypersensitivity reaction to allergens in house dust, animal dander or fungal spores.
Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, or more commonly known as hayfever, is caused by an allergy to pollens from grass, flowers, weeds or trees. It causes sudden, frequent attacks of sneezing, nasal discharge and congestion. These episodes may also be accompanied by eye symptoms, such as stinging, watering eyes and conjunctivitis – not fun stuff as you can imagine if you’ve got places to be, and people to interact with and you can’t stop sneezing. Eikk.
Yes, it’s that time of year again where those hayfever symptoms arise which are due to airborne pollens and allergens making their way into your respiratory system, nose or eyes and triggering a reaction that can inflame the area. There are several symptoms that might indicate you are suffering from a hayfever allergy, these include:
If your symptoms are not being relieved by your current treatment, talk to one of our friendly Chempro Pharmacist for other options that may better suit your needs.
*General advice only – this information should not replace the information provided to you by your health care professional. If symptoms are severe or persist, please speak to your health care professional. Information current as of date of publishing.
Always check with your pharmacist or medical professional before starting any new medications or supplements, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking any medications currently, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or researching therapies suitable for infants or children.
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