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Ola, it’s Dr Joy

Have you ever felt that unpleasant sensation of desperately gasping for air? If so, then you know what an unwelcome guest asthma can be in our daily lives. In this article I will explain what asthma is, its causes, symptoms, treatment and the steps you can take to live fully with this condition.

Take a deep breath (if possible)… Vamos!

What is asthma ?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

It is characterised by permanent inflammation of the airways. Leading to asthma attacks of varying duration and frequency, depending on the individual.

It is generally the result of a genetic predisposition and a triggering factor such as allergens (dust, pollen, mould), irritants (cigarette smoke, air pollution), respiratory infections, intense physical exercise, stress or certain medications. When the airways are exposed to these triggers, they narrow, leading to an asthma attack.

Unlike healthy bronchial tubes, asthmatic bronchial tubes are permanently inflamed, and their mucous membrane is highly sensitive and reactive. In the event of an attack. The contraction of smooth muscles and the production of mucus, add to the permanent inflammation, making it difficult for air to pass through.

The symptoms of asthma

  • Shortness of breath: A feeling of shortness of air or laboured breathing is one of the most common signs . Sufferers may feel discomfort or tightness in the chest.
  • Cough: A dry, persistent cough, often worse at night or early in the morning, can be a tell-tale symptom . It may be accompanied by wheezing.
  • Wheezing: Audible wheezing on exhalation is another common symptom of asthma. It is due to the narrowing of the airways and can vary in intensity.
  • Chest tightness: Some asthma patients may experience a feeling of constriction or tightness in the chest, which can be distressing.

Treatment of asthma

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis of asthma and draw up an appropriate treatment plan.

Asthma treatments aim to control symptoms, prevent attacks and improve patients’ quality of life. Treatment options include:

  • Disease-modifying drugs: Inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting bronchodilators and other anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce chronic airway inflammation and prevent attacks.
  • Rescue medication: Bronchodilators, such as fast-acting inhalers, help relieve immediate symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the airways.
  • Regular monitoring: Regular visits to the doctor help to assess the progression of the disease, adjust medication if necessary and learn to recognise and manage specific triggers.

Everyday management

In addition to medical treatment, there are a number of self-management measures you can take to help you live fully with asthma:

Identify and avoid triggers: Identify the factors that trigger your asthma symptoms and take steps to avoid them as much as possible.

Follow a healthy lifestyle: Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking to strengthen your lungs and improve your overall health.

Draw up an action plan: Work with your healthcare professional to draw up a personalised action plan outlining what to do if you experience asthma symptoms or attacks.

Educate those around you: Inform your family, colleagues and teachers about asthma and what to do in an emergency.

Asthma is considered to be well controlled if
-Symptoms occur less than 2 times a week.
-The individual does not wake up at night because of their symptoms.
-The individual’s usual activities are not restricted.
-Rescue treatment is used less than 2 times a week.


Although chronic, asthma does not prevent you from leading an active and fulfilling life if it is well controlled. Remember to consult your healthcare professional regularly to adjust your treatment according to your individual needs.

Remember that you are not alone in this fight against asthma, and that by taking the appropriate measures, you can live life to the full, breathing freely and embracing every moment of your life.



This information is not a substitute for medical advice. You must seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health condition.


Santé publique France



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