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Home / Asthma

Asthma Symptoms and Causes

Information about the causes and symptoms of asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects a person's respiratory system. The number of people with this condition is on the increase and currently there are believed to be 5.4 million people who suffer from it in the UK. It can cause breathing difficulties, particularly if a person comes into contact with environmental irritants. This is because people who suffer have inflamed airways that are very sensitive. Symptoms develop when airways constrict and start to produce phlegm.

When a person has asthma, an effective management plan is extremely important and will reduce the likelihood of you developing symptoms or an asthma attack. A treatment plan may include the avoidance of triggers and the use of preventative treatments and relievers.

Dr. Sarah Donald
Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead

Available Treatment(s)

Ventolin Evohaler 100mcg salbutamol sulfate inhaler
Ventolin 4.8(188 Reviews)
  • Available in either the Evohaler or Accuhaler
  • Provides immediate relief from the symptoms of asthma
  • No doctor appointment required
More Info
Prices start from £19.99
Clenil Modulite100mcg inhaler preventer
Clenil Modulite 4.8(4 Reviews)
  • Successfully combats the inflammation of airways
  • Buy Clenil Modulite online with no doctor's appointment
  • Free next day delivery
More Info
Prices start from £25.99
Pack of Flixotide Accuhaler and Evohaler
Flixotide 4.5(2 Reviews)
  • Proven to prevent the occurrence of asthma symptoms
  • Helps reduce inflammation in airways to ease breathing and decrease sensitivity
  • Available as an Accuhaler and Evohaler
More Info
Prices start from £27.99
Pulmicort Turbohaler (budesonide) 200mcg
Pulmicort 5(7 Reviews)
  • Can prevent asthma symptoms from occurring
  • Helps ease airway sensitivity by reducing inflammation
  • To be used for mild to moderate asthma
More Info
Prices start from £38.99
Pack of Qvar 50 Aerosol and Qvar 100 Autohaler
Qvar 5(2 Reviews)
  • Qvar can be used in the long term prevention of asthma symptoms
  • Contains corticosteroids that reduce inflammation in the airways
  • Active ingredients delivered directly to the airways where it's required
More Info
Prices start from £31.99
Pack of Seretide 250 Evohaler and Seretide 100 Accuhaler
Seretide 4.1(8 Reviews)
  • Works to ease inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms
  • Has additional ingredients that allows it to act as a bronchodilator
  • Available in two forms for ease of use
More Info
Prices start from £48.99
Symbicort Turbuhaler (100/6 inhalation powder)
Symbicort 4.9(15 Reviews)
  • Symbicort can work to provide relief from asthma symptoms for up to 12 hours
  • Works to widen airways as well as reduce inflammation
  • Delivered directly to the lungs where it can get to work quickly
More Info
Prices start from £74.99
Atrovent Inhaler
Atrovent 4.8(23 Reviews)
  • Atrovent helps open airways an prevent constriction
  • Used on a daily basis to prevent the occurrence of asthma symptoms
  • Taken in conjunction with Ventolin for overall asthma management
More Info
Prices start from £27.99

What causes symptoms?

When an asthmatic person comes in contact with irritants, it causes the muscles around the bronchioles to contract. When these ring-like muscles contract, they cause airways to become narrower. In addition to this the airways of patients are already inflamed, restricting breathing even further and causing the production of extra mucous.

Together all of these actions can make it very difficult for a sufferer to breathe, as fresh air can't reach the lungs via the bronchiole. If this is allowed to worsen it can eventually lead to an attack.

It is not fully understood why some people have this condition, but the majority of people who do seem to have some sort of predisposition to it. It is thought that factors such as a mother smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of her child getting asthma.

Asthma triggers

Factors that increase a patient's risk of experiencing symptoms are known as triggers. Not all patients are sensitive to the same triggers and they can be anything such as food, dust mites, some types of viruses and bacteria, chemicals, scents, smoke, strenuous exercise or air pollutants to name a few. It's important to know what your triggers are and to avoid them when possible or to be prepared with the right medications when exposure is unavoidable.

Asthma symptoms

They are very distinct and may occur sporadically during the day, at night while you are sleeping, after exercising or after exposure to irritants. These include: Breathlessness, wheezing, tightness around the chest or coughing up of mucous. These aren't always severe, but even if you've only ever experienced mild symptoms, you can still benefit from managing your condition effectively.

What treatments are available

In rare cases children may 'outgrow it' or some people may even experience a lack of symptoms just for it to return years later. However for the majority of people it is a lifelong condition that requires proper management. Luckily there are many different treatments that can help you ensure that your asthma remains under control and that you are comfortable.

Treatments can usually be divided into two groups: preventers and relievers. Both types of treatments are most commonly administered with the help of an inhalation device so that they can get to work inside the lungs where they can provide the most benefit. However, they can also be administered in other forms. Preventers are daily treatments that contain corticosteroids most of the time. This is a natural steroid that works against airway inflammation. Reducing inflammation in airways can make them less sensitive and with time can also help ease breathing.

Relievers are used as and when they are needed because they help to relax airways when they suddenly become tight due to exposure to an irritant. They work as bronchodilators. Relievers such as Ventolin are normally recommended alongside preventers in a patients asthma management programme.

Ordering asthma treatment online

If you would like to have your preventer or reliever inhaler delivered to your door, you can place an order online at 121doc. To ensure patient safety we ask all our patients to complete an online consultation form so that our doctors can make sure that you are prescribed a treatment online if it's safe for you to use. Approved orders are sent to the pharmacy from where treatments are shipped with a secure overnight or next day courier service. If you live in the London area you may even receive your treatment in as little as 2 hours.

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Medication sent from pharmacy