Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults.
There’s currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it doesn’t have a big impact on your life.
I have asthma
If you have asthma, we will arrange an annual review to update your asthma management plan.
An annual review will consist of:
- Completing an online assessment of your asthma – click here to start this process now
- You will have the opportunity to request an appointment
- If you struggle to use the online form:
- Ask a family or friend to help
- Contact our reception team who can help over the phone
- We also suggest that you check your Peak Flow at home.
- A doctor will review your answers alongside your medical history.
- If your asthma is well controlled – the doctor will send you a asthma management plan via text. You may also be provided with educational resources, and any prescription medications will be authorised for the next year.
- If your asthma is not well controlled – you will be asked to book a telephone appointment with your doctor. After this appointment, you will also be sent an asthma management plan via text.
If your treatment is being changed, or your symptoms are worsening then further appointments may be needed
Patients with well controlled asthma usually:
- Use their reliever once a week or less
- Have shortness of breath once or twice a week at most
- May have wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or chest tightness at night once or twice a month at most
I think I might have asthma?
Most children and adults with asthma have times when their breathing becomes more difficult.
The most common symptoms of asthma are:
- wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
- a tight chest – it may feel like a band is tightening around it
Many things can cause these symptoms, but they’re more likely to be asthma if they:
- happen often and keep coming back
- are worse at night and early in the morning
- seem to happen in response to an asthma trigger like exercise or an allergy (such as to pollen or animal fur)
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma, or you have asthma and are finding it hard to control.
There is more information on the NHS choices website
If your asthma gets very bad, you may be having an asthma attack.
Signs of an asthma attack include:
- Reliever inhaler (usually blue) is not helping
- Difficult to walk and talk
- Difficult to breathe
When you are having an asthma attack, you should:
- Sit up straight and try to keep calm
- Take one reliever puff every 30-60 seconds (max 10)
- If feeling worse or no better after 10 puffs, call 999
- Repeat step 2 after 15 minutes while waiting for an ambulance
If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.
This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.