Welcome to Qoctor’s online doctor service which can provide assessment and management for people who have been diagnosed with asthma.
We will ask you some questions about your health, just as a doctor would in clinic. In most cases a video consultation is not required.
Once you’ve been assessed, treatment may be recommended- you can then opt to have a paper prescription sent to your home or local pharmacy, or medication delivered to an address of your choice, from one of our partner pharmacies.
- Asthma affects around 1 in 20 adults and is caused by inflammation and over-sensitivity of the lungs, which can lead to sudden narrowing of the airways. Common symptoms include cough, wheeze, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It can be triggered by many things, including viruses, dust and pollen.
- Asthma can start at any age, though it most commonly develops during childhood. It is generally diagnosed based on the symptoms, which tend to get better when inhalers are used. However, sometimes investigations may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
- For most people who have asthma, treatment involves taking a reliever inhaler when symptoms flare up. Many people also need to take a daily preventer inhaler, to reduce inflammation in the lungs and stop symptoms happening in the first place. And sometimes an oral medication may be used as a preventer.
Common Questions and Answers
- Asthma is caused by inflammation and oversensitivity of the lungs which can lead to sudden narrowing of the airways
- It is a common condition affecting around 1 in 20 adults and can range from mild to severe.
Typical symptoms include
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms may vary from a mild cough to severe life threatening shortness of breath
- Asthma can start at any age but it most commonly starts in childhood.
- Approximately 1 in 10 children and 1 in 20 adults have Asthma.
- People with a family history of Asthma or allergies may be at higher risk
Asthma symptoms may flare up at any time.
Common triggers for Asthma include:
- Hay fever/pollen
- Allergies to animals
- House dust mite exposure
- Fumes or chemicals
- Medications including:
- Anti-inflammatories (e.g Ibuprofen, Diclofenac)
- Beta-blockers (e.g Propranolol, Atenolol)
- Your doctor can usually diagnose Asthma based on the history of your symptoms and by performing a physical examination.
- Usually no tests are required but further tests can be arranged if required.
- These include peak flow assessment or spirometry (lung function testing).
- Asthma is usually treated with inhalers which deliver medication directly into the lungs.
- Inhalers are often more effective if used with a spacer device, though some have an in-built delivery system and a spacer is not needed- it’s worth checking with a pharmacist if you’re unsure..
- An oral medications may also be used as a preventer.
- The treatment is categorised into Preventers (stopping you from getting asthma symptoms) and Relievers (treating Asthma symptoms when present):
- These are taken to relieve symptoms when they occur. They help to open up the airways and are also called bronchodilators
- If you have mild Asthma then this may be the only treatment you require.
- If you are need to take your reliever inhaler more than three times a week, then you may require treatment with a preventer inhaler.
- These are taken regularly to prevent symptoms of Asthma.
- The most commonly used preventer is a steroid which works by reducing the inflammation in the airways.
- It may take up to 2 weeks for the steroid to build up their effect.
- They should be taken regularly to control your asthma.
- You should always rinse your mouth after taking your steroid inhaler.
- Long term use of steroid inhalers can cause low bone density.
Long acting bronchodilators
- These relieve symptoms for up to 12 hours after each dose has been taken.
- A long-acting bronchodilator may be needed if symptoms are not fully controlled by the steroid inhaler alone.
- Some inhalers may contain both steroid and long acting bronchodilators.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists
- These block the effect of chemicals called leukotrienes which trigger asthma symptoms.
- This medication needs to be taken regularly to prevent Asthma.
If your Asthma remains poorly controlled then your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further assessment and management.
Health Library- Asthma & Allergies
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