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Asthma

Preventing and managing asthma symptoms effectively

Asthma is an extremely common chronic (long-term) respiratory condition that causes reoccurring symptoms such as coughing, wheeziness and difficulty breathing. When asthma isn't managed effectively with either preventer or reliever inhalers, or certain triggers aren't avoided in your particular environment, it can cause an asthma attack. Asthma treatment often comes in the form of inhalers that are highly effective for the vast majority of asthmatics. Whilst there is no cure for asthma, people with the condition can effectively treat breathlessness and asthma attacks, with the appropriate treatment.

At euroClinix, we offer 11 various preventer and reliever inhalers depending on the severity of your condition. A quick, free and easy online consultation service prior to ordering will determine whether the inhaler is suitable for you, which will ensure the effectiveness of your desired treatment. Our service requires no booking, no face-to-face appointments and quick next day delivery on orders made before 4.30pm.

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euroClinix is an international healthcare provider, offering comprehensive medical services in many different languages.

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since opening in 2011.

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Star Rating 4.7 5,541Reviews Review
Ventolin salbutamol sulphate

Ventolin

Star Rating 4.9 (561 Reviews)
    • Reliever inhaler treatment to reduce asthmatic symptoms
    • Available in two forms: Evohaler or Accuhaler
    • Uses the active ingredient microfine salbutamol
More Info
Seretide

Seretide

Star Rating 5 (13 Reviews)
    • Used for regular treatment of asthma
    • Can be used as both a preventative inhaler and a reliever inhaler
    • Choice of inhaler includes an Accuhaler or Evohaler
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Symbicort

Symbicort

Star Rating 4.9 (38 Reviews)
    • Effective preventative treatment
    • Reduces chances of an asthma attack
    • Limits irritation to the lungs and clears the airways
More Info
Qvar Aerosol Autohale

Qvar

Star Rating 5 (3 Reviews)
    • Prevents the symptoms of an asthma attack with daily use
    • Choice of three types: Autohaler, Aerosol and Easi-Breathe
    • Effective in conjunction with a regular reliever inhaler
More Info
Clenil Modulite

Clenil Modulite

Star Rating 5 (13 Reviews)
    • Controls asthma symptoms and prevents attacks
    • Dispensed in a pressurised inhaler
    • Contains an anti-inflammatory steroid to reduce the swelling caused by an attack
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Flixotide

Flixotide

Star Rating 4.7 (7 Reviews)
    • Contains anti-inflammatory properties (fluticasone) to reduce swelling and irritation
    • Daily use reduces the risk of asthma attacks
    • Available to buy as an Accuhaler or Evohaler
More Info
Pulmicort Turbohaler

Pulmicort

Star Rating 4.8 (24 Reviews)
    • Reduces the likelihood of an asthma attack occurring
    • Contains a steroid which limits the inflammation to the lungs
    • Has only one active ingredient, budesonide
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Atrovent

Atrovent

Star Rating 4.9 (40 Reviews)
    • Significantly reduces risk of asthma attacks
    • Keeps airways relaxed and open to improve breathing
    • Contains the active ingredient ipratropium bromide
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serevent
    • Significantly lowers risk of asthma attacks
    • Helps keep airways relaxed and open
    • Treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
More Info
Salamol

Salamol

Star Rating 5 (4 Reviews)
    • Quickly relieves symptoms caused by an attack
    • Contains the active ingredient salbutamol
    • Treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
More Info
Bricanyl

Bricanyl

Star Rating 4.9 (35 Reviews)
    • A clinically proven reliever treatment for asthma
    • Relaxes the airways and opens the lungs
    • Uses the active ingredient terbutaline sulphate
More Info

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the airways and cells in the lungs, which leads to difficulty breathing. Asthma can result in one or a number of the symptoms including wheezing, breathlessness and tightness in the chest. For most people, this commonly occurs at night or early morning, and can be managed effectively with the right inhaler. If symptoms are severe, or they begin to escalate, this is often referred to as asthma attack. Depending on the causes and symptoms of each individual will depend on the severity of the condition and the medication that is recommended.

The majority of people with asthma are either born with the condition or develop it during childhood, although some adults may develop it during their lives as external factors influence their susceptibility and it is experience common. In fact, one in every 12 adults has asthma, and one in every 11 children also have the condition.

Whilst asthma is more common in boys than girls, in adulthood this is reversed, with more women contracting asthma, or continuing to manage the condition.

What causes asthma?

The causes of asthma, as well as the triggers that personally affect you, can vary massively from individual to individual. This can make it difficult to establish the initial causes, especially at first, however over time you will gain a further understanding regarding your personal triggers allowing you to avoid potential asthma attacks.

Asthma is often contracted when you're a child, and can be a hereditary condition for many people. Whilst you can grow out of the condition, 5.4 adults in the UK still have asthma that can range from mild symptoms that require reliever treatment when necessary, to severe asthma needing daily preventative medication.

Whilst irritants can provoke symptoms and asthma attacks in adults, ironically, it's this lack of exposure in childhood that could have caused the condition. Children who lacked initial contact to certain irritations that set off asthma attacks may stand a higher chance of reacting to them with asthma symptoms later on in life.

It's also believed that people whose mother's smoked during pregnancy may have a higher chance of developing asthma.

What causes asthmatic symptoms?

When someone who suffers from asthma comes into contact with irritants such as pollen, smoke or inhalable powders, essentially any particles likely to cause a reaction on the bronchial muscles in the lungs, an asthma attack may occur as a result.

This happens as the tubes connected to the lungs, known as the bronchioles, narrow and airflow becomes restricted. The problem is compounded as the lining of the bronchioles becomes more inflamed and mucus production provides further blockage. These elements that cause asthmatic symptoms can also be referred to as "triggers".

What triggers asthma?

Triggers that cause asthmatic symptoms can also vary massively, but some may be linked to the cause; for example, the lack of irritant exposure mentioned above. An asthma treatment is therefore used to try and prevent this inflammation from occurring, preventatively, as well as help widen the airways during an attack.

Most children who suffer from asthma usually outgrow the condition and its various symptoms. However, many retain the disorder into adult life and some people develop it only later in general in response to external factors. While it can be uncomfortable, luckily there are effective treatments readily available.

An external factor could be just one of the following, however many asthmatics find that a number of triggers can prompt symptoms such as wheeziness, tightness in the chest, coughing or light-headedness.

Asthma triggers include:

  • Allergies (i.e. animals, hay fever or dust mites)
  • Smoking (including passive smoking)
  • Ait pollution
  • Exercise
  • Mould and bacteria
  • Perfumes (scents)
  • Chemicals
  • Becoming ill (common cold or flu)

These are the most common triggers, however some other factors may be contributing to your condition. This could be anti-inflammatory treatments, natural fires and gases and even certain foods and drinks.

If you believe certain triggers are causing symptoms, one option is to avoid them. For example, if air pollution is a factor, keep windows shut and avoid walking through heavily polluted areas.

Sometimes avoiding triggers isn't possible, including avoiding air pollution if you work and live in a big city, therefore asthmatics are encouraged to keep an inhaler on their being, just in case of emergencies.

Asthma symptoms

Whilst the causes and triggers can alter between each asthmatic, and even develop throughout your life and condition lifespan, the symptoms of asthma are similar for most people.

For light asthma symptoms, these include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Light-headedness
  • Breathlessness
  • A tightness in the chest
  • Feeling of your lungs being unable to fill
  • Inability to draw a deep breath

These symptoms can be mild and reduce without escalating to an attack, especially if you take the precautions such as resting and giving your body time to adjust. For mild to severe asthmatic symptoms, you will either be prescribed a reliever inhaler, or a combination of preventer and reliever medications to ease any discomfort.

Managing your asthma

You can take control of your asthma by knowing what medicines or treatments to take and when to take them. It is also important to avoid things that trigger your asthma. There are a number of triggers you should be aware of that can cause an attack. They are:

  • Colds and the flu
  • Weather changes
  • Emotional factors such as stress or laughter
  • Smoke/cigarette smoke
  • Weather changes such as cold air, windy days, poor air quality and hot, humid days
  • Paint fumes
  • Pollution
  • Perfume
  • Allergens such as pollen, house dust mites and pets
  • Physical exercise, though it is still very important that you keep yourself physically fit. You can use medication to help control asthma attacks that may be triggered by physical exercise at bay
  • Food and drinks that are high in sulphites include concentrated fruit juice, prawns and food that is processed or pre-cooked
  • Aspirin or aspirin-type medications such as ibuprofen

Take prescribed asthma medication, both oral and inhalant, as recommended by your doctor. Bronchodilators and other drugs prescribed by your doctor relax and smooth bronchial muscle tissue, decrease inflammation and help keep airways open.

Keeping your asthma under control and well-managed contributes to your general health and well-being. There are certain symptoms that indicate a lack of control of your condition which should be addressed:

1. Wheeziness/coughing

Coughing

2. Having a tight chest

having a tight chest

3. Finding it hard to keep up with your normal routine of exercise

excercise

4. Using your blue reliever inhaler more than 2-4 times a week

inhaler

5. Tiredness

tiredness

How to prevent an asthma attack

When experiencing symptoms, you will develop knowledge over the years regarding what level of discomfort will pass easily and what will require further aid, whether that is reliever treatment or preventer inhalers that will stop symptoms from developing into an asthma attack through long-term treatment.

It is also essential that you follow your doctor's medical advice, and continue to use the medications prescribed to you. Undergo allergy tests as recommended by your doctor and comply with the follow-up treatments.

It is always advised to carry a reliever inhaler on your person to alleviate mild to severe symptoms, especially when you don't know what predicament you may be in. For some, running for the bus can provoke an attack whilst others may be caught out by allergies.

You can also prevent an asthma attack by avoiding and minimising your exposure to certain triggers. For example, in the spring and summer months, take the typical precautions to minimise the symptoms of hay fever, such as closing windows, washing sheets and staying away from pollen.

Potential Asthma Triggers
asthma-triggers

If you start to experience any symptoms, from coughing to light-headedness, it is advised to sit straight and focus on your breathing.

What treatments are available?

These are split between two groups of asthma treatments, which invariably come in the form of inhalers, either to prevent or relieve the condition.

Preventers are used daily and lower the sensitivity of the airways so they are less likely to react to irritants thereby causing swelling and increased mucous. While relievers focus on relaxing the delicate airways during an attack and allowing normal airflow and unobstructed breathing. These may sometimes be used in combination for maximum effect.

Whilst there isn't an outright cure for asthma, they can either reduce potential symptoms or alleviate an attack. In severe cases, a doctor may even prescribe steroid pills or injections that can provide a stronger and more immediate relief.

Reliever inhalers - short-term asthma relief

Reliever medications aren't used to prevent asthma attacks like preventer treatments, but rather to provide quick relief during or before an attack. This is because reliever medications don't help with inflammation; they help to open the airways and immediately ease breathing in the case of an attack.

Due to the array of causes and triggers, it is advised to keep a reliever inhaler on your person just in case you fall into any difficulty. Remember, inhalers expire, so check the tube after some time. The most popular reliever treatment is the Ventolin inhaler, however, there are many other brands. When used correctly, a reliever inhaler for moderate asthmatics can ease symptoms and help you avoid an asthma attack. Reliever inhalers can be used immediately to alleviate symptoms.

Depending on the severity of your asthma, you may be prescribed a reliever treatment alongside a preventer if you experience strong asthma symptoms. Most people with milder forms of asthma will likely be prescribed a reliever inhaler to use as needed. Reliever inhalers may also be prescribed in a preventative sense to people who find that they suffer from exercise-induced asthma.

Relievers will most likely be prescribed to you in an inhaler form, although treatments such as Ventolin are also available in tablets, syrup or injections. Ventolin is one of the most commonly used reliever medications and works as a bronchodilator because it delivers a type of treatment known as a short-acting beta-agonist to the airways, where it causes the airways to open up wider and allow air to flow more freely.

Asthma Inhaler

Due to the array of causes and triggers, it is advised to keep a reliever inhaler on your person just in case you fall into any difficulty. Remember, inhalers expire, so check the tube after some time. The most popular reliever treatment is the Ventolin inhaler, however, there are many other brands. When used correctly, a reliever inhaler for moderate asthmatics can ease symptoms and help you avoid an asthma attack. Reliever inhalers can be used immediately to alleviate symptoms.

Preventer inhalers – long-term asthma treatment

Preventer inhalers are designed to offer long-term relief for asthma sufferers. For those with moderate to severe asthma, this can prevent an attack from occurring. They help alleviate the inflammation to make the airways much less responsive to the effects of these asthma triggers. Unlike relievers, preventers don't provide immediate relief and they should be used daily to ensure that enough medication builds up in your system to be effective.

There are various types of preventative treatments for asthma, all of which contain a variant of steroid that is able to fight inflammation in the airways. Although they can be taken orally or supplied to the body via injections, they are most commonly prescribed in an inhaled form for everyday use. It's more likely that you'll be prescribed steroid tablets or injections in more severe cases.

Certain long-term preventers and short-term reliever inhalers can be used together, others cannot. You doctor will advise you on which combination will be the most effective for your particular level of the condition.

Types of Asthma inhalers

Puffers

Puffers contain a compressed version of medication, which gets released into the mouth as a canister is activated. Puffers may also be called Evohalers, Autohalers, Easi-Breathe inhalers or aerosols, depending on the brand, which could include Clenil, Flixotide, Qvar and Seretide, although Flixotide and Qvar are also available in different forms.

Some of these treatments contain a compressed version of the active ingredient that should be inhaled as the aerosol canister is held down, which is the case with the Evohaler and aerosol inhalers. The Autohaler and Easi-Breathe inhaler don't require you to push anything down as you inhale, but you use it by opening air vents and simply breathing in to activate the release of a spray of mediation.

Puffer asthma inhaler

Puffers are generally easy to use, but very young people or those with arthritis who may find it difficult to operate am aerosol puffer might find it more effective using a dry powder, Easi-Breathe inhaler, Autohaler or Evohaler. If you have a lactose allergy, you may not be able to use some dry powder inhalers available, in which case a puffer is a better option.

Asthma Accuhaler

Dry powder inhalers

Dry powder can be used if you find it difficult to use a puffer inhaler as they do not require you to perform too many actions at once. Turbohalers and Accuhalers are both examples of dry powder inhalers. Both these types of inhalers require you to open a mouthpiece and pull a lever or twist the base to allow a dose of dry powder medication to be released; after which you simply need to inhale the dry powder. This should then provide almost immediate relief as they contain microparticles of short-acting beta-agonist mediation.

Dry powder inhalers are usually easy to operate and give you an accurate indication of how many doses of medication you have left so that you can ensure that your treatment is continued uninterrupted. Accuhalers are often likely to contain lactose, which might not make them suitable for everybody to take safely, although they are a more convenient option for people who find it difficult to use an aerosol treatment.

Can I order medications for asthma online?

Yes. At euroClinix, we offer a free and easy consultation service to provide patients with their desired asthma treatment, of which 11 inhalers are on offer. During this process, you will be asked to answer several medical questions to ascertain your suitability, whether it is a preventer or a reliever treatment. Medication will be delivered to your door without the need to a face-to-face appointment or trip to the pharmacy to pick up your treatment.

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