What is asthma?

Asthma is an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs, often making it difficult to breathe. The condition causes the lining of the air passages to swell and the muscles in this area to tighten. Mucus then fills the airways, reducing the amount of air that is able to pass through.

There are a number of types of asthma, including allergic asthma, which is triggered by elements like dust, pollen, and pet dander; non allergic asthma, which is triggered by irritants that are not related to allergens, like viral illness, perfumes and smoke; cough-variant asthma, which causes a dry cough; exercise-induced asthma, which is triggered by physical activity; nocturnal asthma, which worsens at night; and occupational asthma, which may be triggered by elements in the workplace, such as chemicals, gases, and dust.

What are the symptoms?

Some common symptoms include attacks of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

How is it diagnosed?

In order to diagnose your asthma, Dr Shaikh will perform a thorough physical examination. In some cases, he may recommend a lung function test, as well as imaging tests like chest and sinus x-rays.

If your child is under five years old, Dr Shaikh may prescribe a bronchodilator rather than performing breathing tests. If the bronchodilator helps to ease your child's symptoms, it may be a sign that your child has asthma, in which case Dr Shaikh will discuss all of the possible treatment options with you.

How can it be treated?

In order to manage and treat your asthma, Dr Shaikh may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, which may be either inhaled or taken orally. Your specific treatment plan will depend on the type of asthma you have, as well as the severity of your symptoms. Dr Shaikh will assist you with a treatment plan that is best suited to your needs and lifestyle.