Information taken from: http://www.ginasthma.org/World-Asthma-Day
World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.
The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person. Asthma can be controlled well in most people most of the time, although some people may have more persistent problems.
Occasionally, asthma symptoms can get gradually or suddenly worse. This is known as an “asthma attack”, although doctors sometimes use the term “exacerbation”.
Severe attacks may require hospital treatment and can be life threatening, although this is unusual.
What causes asthma?
Asthma is caused by inflammation of the small tubes, called bronchi, which carry air in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, the bronchi will be inflamed and more sensitive than normal.
When you come into contact with something that irritates your lungs – known as a trigger – your airways become narrow, the muscles around them tighten, and there is an increase in the production of sticky mucus (phlegm).
Common asthma triggers include:
- House dust mites
- Animal fur
- Cigarette smoke
- Viral infections
Asthma may also be triggered by substances (allergens or chemicals) inhaled while at work. Speak to your GP if you think your symptoms are worse at work and get better on holiday.
The reason why some people develop asthma is not fully understood, although it is known that you are more likely to develop it if you have a family history of the condition.
Asthma can develop at any age, including in young children and elderly people.
Who is affected?
In the UK, it is estimated around 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
That’s the equivalent of 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 11 children. Asthma in adults is more common in women than men.
How asthma is treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional – or, more commonly, daily – use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
For many people, asthma is a long-term condition – particularly if it first develops in adulthood.
Asthma symptoms are usually controllable and reversible with treatment, although some people with long-lasting asthma may develop permanent narrowing of their airways and more persistent problems.
For children diagnosed with asthma, the condition may disappear or improve during the teenage years, although it can return later in life. Moderate or severe childhood asthma is more likely to persist or return later on.
Living with asthma
Your asthma may get better or worse at different times. There may be periods when you have asthma symptoms, but in between you may be generally well, possibly for many years.
Below are some things you can do to help keep your asthma under control.
Self care is an integral part of daily life. It involves taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing, with support from those involved in your care.
It includes what you do every day to stay fit and maintain good physical and mental health, prevent illness or accidents, and care more effectively for minor ailments and long-term conditions.
People living with long-term conditions can benefit enormously from being supported to care for themselves. They can live longer, have a better quality of life, and be more active and independent.
If your child has asthma, they should be encouraged to manage their condition as they get older so they learn about their medication and how to recognise and treat asthma attacks.
Take your medication
It’s important that you or your child take any medication as prescribed, even if you start to feel better.
Taking a preventer medication every day using the correct technique will help keep asthma under control and can help prevent asthma attacks.
If you have any questions or concerns about medication you or your child are taking, or its side effects, talk to your doctor or asthma nurse.
As asthma is a long-term condition, you’ll be in regular contact with your healthcare team. You or your child should have checks to ensure the condition is under control and that your current treatment is still appropriate at least once a year.
A good relationship with your team means you can easily discuss your symptoms or concerns. The more the team knows, the more they can help.
If you have asthma, you may be advised to have a yearly flu jab to protect against flu, as getting flu may make your asthma more difficult to control.
You may also be advised to have a pneumococcal vaccination, a one-off injection that protects against a specific serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia.
Children with asthma still have all their routine vaccinations as outlined in the NHS vaccination schedule.
If you smoke and have asthma, you should stop smoking as this can significantly reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of asthma medication.
NHS Smokefree can offer advice and encouragement to help you quit smoking. You can call them on 0300 123 1044, or visit the NHS Smokefree website.
If you do not smoke and have asthma, try to avoid being exposed to tobacco smoke because this may trigger your symptoms.
If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you should try to ensure that nobody smokes around them.
Smokefreelife Berkshire offers free, weekly one to one or group sessions over 12 weeks, as well as a free weekly supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Clinics are within local community settings, in pharmacies, GP surgeries, local markets, fitness centres, supermarkets, libraries, community centres, mobile clinics and online
Year of Self Care
Each month there will be a different self care theme – you can see the list on the ‘Calendar’ page. For example, in February we’ll be sending out information and advice on mental well-being, while in June we’ll be focusing on carer well-being. Keep an eye of this webpage and our @BFC_Health twitter feed.
We want to get more people, organisations and business involved in Self Care. So, if you would like us to promote your event, service or initiative, just get in touch. It doesn’t have to fit with the theme of the month – we will get your information out there at any time!
Also, get in touch if you’d like our help to set up and run a self care related event or project – just ask. We are always happy to get involved and make it a success.
Bracknell Forest Self-Care Guide:
The Bracknell Forest Self-Care guide provides information, advice and links to services related to long-term conditions and lifestyle factors. Each chapter has a video which gives a summary of the key messages on each topic.
The Long-Term Conditions Guide gives you practical information and signposting to services to help you manage your condition. Guides can be found for; Arthritis, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, Dementia, Depression and anxiety, Diabetes, Falls, Hypertension and Stroke.
Lifestyle information is available on Alcohol, Diet and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Smoking.
All guides can be accessed through the Self-Care webpage:
This directory is for everyone who lives and works in and around Bracknell Forest. If you use adult social care, health care or other help and support services, if you fund your own support, or simply wish to find out more about what services and support are available in your local community, you can find all the information and advice in one place.
If you would like to find out about events and activities in the local community, you may also find the community directory helpful:
The Helping You Stay Independent Guide
The Helping You Stay Independent Guide lists activities, events and groups around Bracknell Forest that can support individuals to remain healthy and independent.
To view or download the Guide as a pdf please visit:
Did you know more than three million people in the UK work and also care for someone? Juggling work and care can be a challenge, but as a carer you have rights at work that can make this easier. There is support available to help you continue both working and caring. You have rights to request flexible working and to challenge decisions if you are not happy with the outcome. You may also have rights to various forms of time off. Your employer may offer other forms of support such as unpaid leave or telephone access to the person you are caring for during your working hours.
If you are an unpaid carer and appear to need support, you can ask for a carer’s assessment from Bracknell Forest Council to look at how you can be supported to carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing. The assessment will work out how you can be supported and whether you qualify for support from Bracknell Forest Council.
For more information:
- call the Carers UK’s Carers Line on 0808 808 7777 or visit www.carersuk.org
- contact Bracknell Forest Council Adult Social Care on 01344 351500 or visit www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/carers
- visit the Carer’s Trust website www.carers.org
Following the success of the Olympics’ Gamesmakers Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group have been inspired to create a community of HealthMakers who can support one another in their long term health conditions.
We know that patients with long term health conditions often face crisis with their health which can be frightening and can lead to a feeling of having lost control. We know that most patients want to have confidence in looking after themselves and in recognising the signs when they need help.
We are looking for people who want to make a difference for themselves and for others by becoming HealthMakers.
What will HealthMakers gain?
- Acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes for good health and wellbeing in their condition.
- Opportunities to influence health services and improve patient care.
- Meeting and working alongside others who are also keen to make a difference.
- Opportunities to raise the patient voice within the Clinical Commissioning Group.
- Listening skills and ability to learn from others.
- To inspire and be inspired.
- Create and participate in strong local networks / groups around their condition and train others to do so.
- Make a strong and local difference and improve health outcomes for others.
- Reduce the need for medication and hospital admissions.
- Evidence of team building/counselling and leadership for their CVs.
- Certificates will be provided which can be used to support continued professional development.