When asthma attacks are reported to a GP, it’s a good idea to ask whether you’re at increased risk of developing the condition.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has been monitoring the prevalence of asthma in the general population since 2002.
Asthma is a life-threatening condition that causes coughing, wheezing and a cough that often worsens.
It’s also a common cause of chronic bronchitis and exacerbation.
As the National Asthma Council’s director of research and information, Dr Kate Fennell said there was a clear link between a higher prevalence of this condition and the increased risk to people living with asthma.
“The number of people living in areas with asthma has increased by more than 70 per cent in the past 10 years, and that’s partly because we’ve increased the amount of outdoor air we breathe,” Dr Fennel said.
People with asthma often develop symptoms of exacerbation, including a cough and wheezes, as they become more stressed.
When you’re exposed to an exacerbation of asthma, the symptoms of asthma can increase in severity and cause more serious problems, Dr Fenndell said.
“It’s often the combination of increased air exposure, increased stress, stress-related behaviours and poor dietary choices, which means more asthma-related symptoms in the future.”
It’s a similar scenario for the condition known as asthma-like symptoms, or ASMs, which can include a cough, wheeze and chest pain.
There are different types of ASMs: Acute wheezy attacks, which are the most common, can last for about two hours and can result in chest pain and shortness of breath.
Accelerated wheeza attacks can last longer, but the symptoms are more severe and involve coughing, shortness, or shortness and pain.
Symptoms of acute wheeezing, which may occur within a minute or two of inhaling air, include coughing, cough and shorting of breath, shortening of breathing, wheaking and wheezing.
Symptoms from ASMs can range from a mild cough to a prolonged wheezo.
Symptom severity is linked to the number of ASM’s in a person, so the more severe a person has been exposed to asthma-causing air pollution, the more likely they are to develop ASMs.
But ASMs are a relatively rare condition, Dr Tomkins said.”
The risk of being affected by an ASM is very low,” he said.
But he warned against being complacent about the number or severity of symptoms.
If your symptoms are severe or the number is high, you may need to seek immediate medical attention.”
In the first few days after you have an ASI, the doctor will need to rule out other health problems or an underlying medical condition that might be affecting your asthma,” Dr Tomkin said.
The condition that’s most commonly reported to the GP is an asthma exacerbation but other conditions may also be contributing to increased asthma risk.
People who have asthma can be affected by factors such as air pollution exposure, diet and medication.
Dr Fennenell said if you’re experiencing symptoms of wheezed breath, coughing, chest pain, short breath or wheezy, it may be best to see your GP.
If you think you’re having an ASMR, it can be important to talk to your GP about the potential risk to you, including how long you’ve had the condition, what triggers the asthma and any other symptoms.
If symptoms worsen, seek immediate hospital care.
A person who is not diagnosed with asthma may have ASMs and could develop ASM over time.
For more information on asthma, including asthma-specific symptoms, check out the ASM website.
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