Living with asthma

06 Mar 2017 Chris James   Health and wellbeing

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes breathing difficulties in patients. Although asthma can normally be kept under control, it's still a serious condition that can cause a number of complications. In the UK alone, 5.4 million people are currently receiving asthma treatment, so it's worth knowing the symptoms and what to do in the event of an asthma attack. Here at Online Pharmacy UK, we thought we'd share our advice and expertise on the best way to manage asthma.

Diagnosing asthma

Symptoms can include wheezing, breathlessness, coughing and a tight chest. As with most conditions, the symptoms will vary from person to person. Some people will notice that symptoms come and go whilst symptoms could be more persistent in others.

If you think you have asthma, you should visit your GP who will be able to diagnose you after asking some simple questions and carrying out minor breathing tests.

Asthma attacks

One of the biggest risks with asthma is asthma attacks, which can kill up to three people in the UK each day. However, these deaths are preventable. In fact, someone has a potentially life threatening asthma attack every 10 seconds. It's important that you know what to do during an attack.

  • 1.Sit down and take slow, steady breaths. As scary as it seems, you need to try and remain calm; panicking will make things worse.
  • 2.Take a puff of your reliever inhaler every 30-60 seconds. Do not exceed 10 puffs in 15 minutes.
  • 3.Call for an ambulance if you don't have your inhaler with you or if you're not seeing any improvements.
  • 4.If the ambulance doesn't arrive within 15 minutes, repeat the second step.


Asthma is caused by the swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air from the lungs. This inflammation can occur naturally, but it can also be triggered by a number of things such as:

  • Allergens
  • Irritants such as cigarette smoke and strong smells
  • Exercise
  • Chest infections


Whilst charities like Asthma UK are currently searching for a cure for asthma, there currently isn't one. However, there are a lot of effective medicines to treat asthma in order to minimise symptoms and to reduce the risk of an attack. Treatment typically involves an inhaler, but you and your GP, asthma nurse and/or consultant can work together to find the most effective way to manage your asthma.

If you want to know more about asthma, get in touch with your pharmacist or GP.

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