Asthma is a disease of the airways characterised by bronchial hyper-responsiveness in retort to a substance the body perceives as being foreign. Constriction of the airways limits airflow in and out of the lungs and produces a characteristic sound, known as a wheeze. Asthmatics also experience increased mucus production.
Triggers for asthma: irritants, exercise, stress, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen), pollens, chemicals and house dust mite.
Symptoms: wheeze, cough, increased mucus production and increased respiratory rate. Asthmatic symptoms are usually relieved by a bronchodilators (e.g. salbutamol, salmeterol), and the chronic inflammatory response can be modified by inhaled corticosteroids.
Who to consult: GP, herbalist, homoeopath, meditation practitioner, naturopath, respiratory specialist.