Asthma

Asthma is a chronic airway condition in which the bronchial tubes become inflamed, making it difficult for air to flow through these airways. The cause of asthma is known to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors and is worsened when exposed to various irritants, known as triggers. When triggers are encountered asthma may become worse; this is known as an asthma attack.

Triggers that may cause an asthma attack include various airborne substances such as pollen, dust mites, mould spores, pet dander, allergens, certain medications and pollutants like smoke. Triggers can be difficult to pinpoint as attacks can even be caused by very cold air, stress and may also be exercise-induced.

What does an asthma attack look like?

Asthma typically causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness during an asthma attack. For many asthma is a minor nuisance, but for others, this respiratory condition can interfere with daily activities. Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening, and it is thus important to see Dr Mothilal for a comprehensive diagnosis and to pinpoint what triggers attacks. Once you know the triggers, your lung specialist may assist you in how best to manage flares and what emergency treatment may involve.

How can asthma be treated?

Treatment will involve long-term control medications to reduce the inflammation in your airways, preventing an asthma attack. In cases of an asthma attack, quick-relief inhalers (bronchodilators) may be used to open the inflamed airways. In some cases, if triggers are allergens, allergy medications may be necessary. Because asthma often changes over time, many may only have bad asthma symptoms as a child, and once their lungs have grown, the symptoms go away. In most cases, asthma is present for the rest of their lives, but symptoms will come and go.


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Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital

Suite 1613, 16th floor, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cnr DF Malan Street and Rua Bartholemeu Dias Plain, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001

021 424 2370

Netcare N1 City Hospital

Suite 107, 1st Floor, Netcare N1 City Hospital, Louwtjie Rothman Street,
Goodwood, Cape Town,
7460

021 595 0274