The importance of asthma awareness this season

The season of florals, pollen and thunderstorms is upon us and with it comes an increase in air pollution, allergies and asthma – a condition that affects one in nine Australians and can have irreversible consequences if left untreated.

You may never have been properly informed of the potential severity of the disease but understanding the triggers and symptoms could save your life, or the life of someone close to you.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that inflames and narrows the airways causing breathing difficulties. More often than not, asthma develops in early childhood but the disease can of course, occur at any age.

So are you at risk? Read on.

Anyone can be diagnosed with asthma at all stages life but women are the most likely to experience persistent symptoms after the age of 20. The first signs are often coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and trouble breathing and can occur due to infection (from colds and flus), exercise, allergens and air pollution.

Obesity can also be a cause of adult asthma but research shows 30% is triggered by allergies including seasonal (hello spring), exposure to irritants, dust, mould or reactions to animals. Fluctuations in hormones can be a contributing factor for women, as can pregnancy and menopause.

Spotting early signs and symptoms is the most important factor in treating asthma and of course, there are a few major ones to look out for. Breathlessness, wheezing, tightness in the chest and continuous coughing are the major ones. Symptoms occur most often at night, early in the morning or during and just after activity.

Colds that move into the chest that seem worse than usual, or persist for longer than 10 days also need to be monitored closely.

It’s also true that a person’s asthma symptoms can vary over time. Sometimes people with asthma will have no symptoms, especially when their asthma is well controlled. Sufferers may have all of these symptoms, or only a few, and they may come and go.

Symptoms can be controlled of course, or they can be very serious. But with the right management, people with asthma continue to live normal, spring-loving lives.

If you suspect you might have asthma or should symptoms arise in the future, it’s imperative you see a doctor immediately. The sooner you can get it under control the better.

While asthma is obviously not a direct result of spring and the change of season, symptoms can flare up more dramatically at this time.

Awareness is the key to both prevention and enjoying the magic that is a Gold Coast spring.

Words by Kirra Smith




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