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Asthma

Girl using an AeroChamber Plus Flow-Vu Valved Holding Chamber.

Asthma is a common chronic disease, affecting an estimated 300 million people worldwide.1 Asthma affects the respiratory system, causing a narrowing of the airways resulting in shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or coughing. These episodes may be triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as an allergen, tobacco smoke, cold or warm air, perfume, pet dander, moist air, exercise or exertion, or emotional stress. In children, the most common triggers are viral illnesses, such as the common cold.

Between episodes, most patients feel well but can have mild symptoms and may remain short of breath after exercise for longer periods of time than an unaffected individual.

There is no cure for asthma but with proper use of medications, it can be controlled and patients can enjoy a good quality of life. Unfortunately, over 75% of people with asthma have poorly controlled asthma which can often restrict their daily activities.2 Many patients do not take their medication as directed, possibly because they feel relatively healthy and do not notice the slow and steady increase in symptoms. They may also lack the proper technique to get the inhaled medication into their lungs. It is estimated that 80% of all asthma related deaths could have been prevented with proper education and management.3 For more information on asthma please talk to your healthcare professional.

1. World Health Organization. Asthma Fact Sheet (No 307) 2. Bellamy D, Harris T. Poor perceptions and expectations of asthma control: Results of the International Control of Asthma Symptoms (ICAS) Survey of patients and general practitioners. Primary Care Respiratory Journal. Vol 14, Issue 5, October 2005. Pages 252-258 3. Institute for Clinical Evaluative Services in Ontario (ICES) 1996. ICES Practice Atlas (second edition), June 1996

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