Asthma: St John Ambulance explain how to help during attack
Taking a long, coastal walk around the west of Scotland, Kevin McCloud took in the breathtaking views… and discovered he had asthma. What are the signs of the health condition?
“I just couldn’t breathe, I was wheezing and my chest was tight,” Kevin told the charity Asthma UK.
The symptoms of asthma can range from mild to serious, and not everyone experiences all the signs all the time.
The four most common signs of asthma are:
- Chest tightness
A recurrent cough, which is often worse at night or early in the morning, may be accompanied by sounds of wheezing.
Described as a “high-pitched whistling noise” that occurs when a person breathes out.
The wheeze can come and go and, for some, it may be hard to hear.
Shortness of breath may occur after light or moderate activity, which can come on gradually or quickly.
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“Breathlessness can also mean trouble breathing out, as well as in,” said the charity.
This might mean a person needs to concentrate in order to regulate their breathing.
Often described as a “heavy weight” on the chest, it can be likened to “being crushed by an elephant”.
“It may feel like a dull ache, or a sharp stabbing in the chest,” said Asthma UK. “It can make it difficult to take a deep intake of breath.”
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These symptoms could come about when you encounter a trigger, such as pollen, cigarette smoke, cold air, pets or dust.
“Although I often work on building sites, I have to be very careful not to put myself in situations where I’m breathing in the dust,” said Kevin.
“I would be wheezing in no time and would hardly be in any fit state to film.”
Asthma UK urge people to visit their doctor if they’re concerned they may have asthma.
“A consultant put me on to some very strong steroids short-term,” said Kevin.
“At my next visit I was prescribed a combined preventer and reliever steroid inhaler.”
Although there are various types of asthma, such as “brittle” asthma and “seasonal” asthma, most are managed in the same way assured Asthma UK.
A preventer inhaler is used everyday whereas a reliever inhaler is used when asthma symptoms arise.
Together with your asthma care team, at the GP’s clinic, you can put together a written asthma action plan.
This includes information about hoe your asthma affects you and how to manage it.
It’s also important to get regular asthma reviews with your GP or asthma nurse.
Kevin McCloud presents the new series of Channel 4’s Grand Designs on Wednesday, January 6 at 9pm.
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