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Asthma in Australia

1. Introduction

Asthma is one of Australia’s most widespread chronic health problems. In the year 200-2001, Australia spent an estimated six hundred and ninety-two million dollars on the management of Asthma(1). The number of people suffering from Asthma in Australia has been increasing over the past few years. The mortality due to Asthma in Australia is also very low. The number of deaths reported to be due to Asthma in 2005 accounted for only 0.2% of all the deaths recorded in the country(1). There are three major types of treatments that are commonly used all over the world and which are available for asthmatics. These are inhalation therapy, oral medication, and immunotherapy. Inhalation therapy is the most common and widely used type of treatment for asthma. It involves the use of inhalers or nebulizers to deliver medication directly to the air passages. Oral medication is another popular type of treatment for asthma. It involves the use of drugs that are taken by mouth. Immunotherapy is a less common type of treatment, but it is becoming more popular in recent years. It involves the use of injections to desensitize the body to the allergens that trigger asthma attacks.

2. Types of Asthma

There are two main types of asthma: allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is caused by an allergy to a substance that triggers an immune response in the body. Non-allergic asthma is not caused by an allergy, but by a variety of other factors, such as viral infections, exercise, cold air, and tobacco smoke.

3. Causes of Asthma

The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between asthma and allergies. Allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance that is harmless to most people. These substances are known as allergens, and they can include pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and animal dander. When an allergen comes into contact with the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, and lungs, it triggers an immune response. This response causes the airways to swell and narrow, which makes it difficult to breathe. In some cases, the airways can become so narrow that they completely block off airflow, which can lead to suffocation.

4. Symptoms of Asthma

The symptoms of asthma vary from person to person. Some people only experience mild symptoms, while others may have severe symptoms that interfere with their daily activities. The most common symptoms of asthma include:
• Shortness of breath
• Wheezing
• Chest tightness
• Coughing
Asthma attacks can vary in severity from mild to life-threatening. During a mild attack, you may only experience a minor shortness of breath or wheezing. A moderate attack may make it difficult to breathe or speak without pausing for breath. A severe attack can be fatal if not treated immediately.

5. Diagnosing Asthma

If you think you might have asthma, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get a proper diagnosis. There are several tests that your doctor can use to diagnose asthma, including:
• Pulmonary function tests: These tests measure how well your lungs are functioning.
• Allergy tests: These tests can help to identify the allergens that might be triggering your asthma attacks.
• Chest x-rays: These can help to rule out other conditions, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
• Spirometry: This test measures how much air you can exhale in one breath.

6. Treatments for Asthma

There is no cure for asthma, but there are a variety of treatments that can help to control the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. The most common treatments for asthma include:
• Inhalers: Inhalers are devices that deliver medication directly to the air passages. There are two main types of inhalers: metered dose inhalers (MDIs) and dry powder inhalers (DPIs). MDIs deliver a measured dose of medication in a spray form. DPIs deliver a dry powder form of medication that is inhaled deeply into the lungs.
• Nebulizers: Nebulizers are devices that convert liquid medication into a fine mist that can be inhaled into the lungs.
• Oral medications: Oral medications are taken by mouth in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquids. The most common oral medications used to treat asthma include corticosteroids, beta-agonists, and leukotriene inhibitors.
• Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy involves the use of injections to desensitize the body to the allergens that trigger asthma attacks. This type of treatment is usually reserved for people with severe allergic asthma who have not been able to control their symptoms with other treatments.

7. Conclusion

Asthma is a chronic health problem that affects a large number of people in Australia. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are a variety of treatments that can help to control the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. If you think you might have asthma, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get a proper diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment.

(1) Asthma in Australia, National Asthma Council Australia, https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/about-asthma/asthma-in-australia

FAQ

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

The symptoms of asthma can vary from person to person, but may include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Asthma attacks can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening.

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with medication and by avoiding triggers that can worsen symptoms.

Inhalers are the most common form of medication used to manage asthma symptoms. There are two main types of inhalers: rescue inhalers and controller inhalers. Rescue inhalers are used to relieve acute asthma symptoms and are typically taken as needed. Controller inhalers are used daily to prevent asthma attacks and are usually taken long-term.

Some home remedies that may help manage asthma symptoms include staying hydrated, using a humidifier or air purifier in your home, avoiding triggers such as dust or smoke, and exercising regularly (but not immediately before or after meals).

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