What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that can cause difficulty breathing. It is a condition that can affect people of all ages, from young children to seniors. Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe and may vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of asthma and to take steps to treat and manage the condition. Self-management can be very empowering for asthma sufferers and can significantly help reduce the associated stress. In this article, we will discuss the different treatment options and how you can use technology for improved asthma care.
Asthma in Australia
Australia has one of the world’s highest asthma rates. Asthma affects around 2.7 million Australians, approximately 11% of the population. An estimated 1 in 9 individuals in Australia is impacted, with many more experiencing asthmatic symptoms. People of all ages are affected by asthma. Asthma is the 10th largest contributor to Australia’s total number of diseases and the primary source of illness for individuals aged between 5-14 years.
Environmental disasters such as the devastating 2019 bushfires triggered a national emergency, with millions of Australians exposed to wildfire smoke. The wildfire smoke worsened the direct bushfire consequences already experienced by areas endangered by the flames. According to reports, 2027 were admitted for respiratory problems, and 1305 were emergency department admissions for asthma. Smoke from wildfires generates air pollutants that can harm people’s health. People with respiratory disorders, such as asthma, are more prone to the damaging consequences of wildfire smoke, as are those with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, pregnant women, newborns, and the elderly.
What are the signs and symptoms of asthma?
The severity of asthma symptoms can vary from person to person, and can range from mild to life-threatening. Individuals with mild asthma may experience occasional difficulty breathing, while those with more severe asthma may experience frequent and intense symptoms. Asthma symptoms can also change over time and may become worse or better depending on the individual’s environment and lifestyle. The most common signs and symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Wheezing, a whistling or squeaky sound when breathing
- Difficulty breathing
Asthma symptoms can be frightening and can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. It is important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the asthma symptoms described above. Your doctor can provide you with a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan to help you manage your asthma symptoms.
What is the treatment for asthma?
Managing asthma can be difficult, and it is essential for people with asthma to have the right resources and education to understand their condition and take the best care of it.
The main modalities of asthma treatment include:
Medications: Several medications are used to manage asthma, including quick-relief medicines (such as albuterol) to relieve symptoms during an asthma attack and long-term control medications (such as inhaled corticosteroids) to reduce inflammation and prevent future attacks.
Allergen avoidance is a crucial strategy for managing asthma in allergic patients. Identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger asthma symptoms can help reduce the number of attacks and the need for medication.
Pulmonary rehabilitation includes exercise and breathing techniques, as well as education on how to manage asthma. It can help improve lung function, breathing, and overall quality of life for people with asthma.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove severely narrowed airways or repair structural abnormalities contributing to asthma symptoms.
Self-management: This includes educating the patient on recognising and responding to early warning signs of an asthma attack and teaching proper use of medications and other self-management techniques, such as avoiding triggers that can worsen asthma symptoms.
Asthma patients often rely on a variety of tools, including various digital technologies such as asthma self-management app, to help them manage their symptoms. Digital therapeutics (DTx), for instance, is an emerging medical field that facilitates patients with personalized intervention such as tracking allergy trends for better patient-provider communication.
It combines self-management with remote patient monitoring and behaviour modification to improve health outcomes. Working closely with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that considers the severity of symptoms and any underlying cause is essential. Regular follow-up appointments and monitoring for chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma are crucial for the effectiveness of treatment and making any necessary adjustments.
How can Inflamed help?
An asthma self-management app such as Inflamed can provide comprehensive guidance and support to asthma sufferers in terms of tracking and monitoring allergy/inflammation trends, gathering of personal data, test result integration, helpful resources and support for more informed decision-making.
Keeping in mind the wide range of asthma symptoms, an asthma self-management app like Inflamed is tailored to your personal journey based on the elements that influence your daily life. The app provides tools to help you develop a better understanding of your conditions by recording trends and the consequences of exposure so that you can have a more clear conversation with your health professional.
It provides instant access to a variety of valuable materials such as the latest news and research about allergies, you can search plenty of recipes that keep food intolerances in mind, or find restaurants that specialise in particular foods. For medical assistance, it can help you locate your nearest health specialist, or give you recommendations for books and academic resources.
If you’re suffering from chronic asthma and are looking for a convenient and effective way to improve your symptoms and take control of your life, download the Inflamed asthma self-management app and start making smart and shared data-driven decisions with your provider.