Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, but it can also develop for the first time in adults.

There’s currently no cure, but there are treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it does not have a big impact on your life.

You should see a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma, or you have asthma and are finding it hard to control.

Annual asthma review

Every asthma patient gets an annual health check, usually with one of our pharmacists who specialise in asthma. This review is a chance to talk about how to manage your symptoms better and lower your risk of an asthma attack.

Your asthma review could involve:

  • Checking your lung function with peak flow or spirometry tests
  • Prescribing or changing medicines
  • Prescribing an inhaler
  • Working to create an asthma action plan
  • Encouraging you to quit smoking (if applicable)

Your GP surgery will invite you for an annual asthma review. Most people go for an asthma review at least once a year, but if you have difficult or severe asthma, you may need to go for an asthma review more often.

Symptoms of asthma

  • Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
  • Breathlessness
  • A tight chest – it may feel like a band is tightening around it
  • Coughing

Many things can cause these symptoms, but they’re more likely to be asthma if they:

  • Happen often and keep coming back
  • Aare worse at night and early in the morning
  • Seem to happen in response to an asthma trigger like exercise or an allergy (such as to pollen or animal fur)

Asthma attacks

Asthma can sometimes get worse for a short time – this is an asthma attack. It can happen suddenly, or gradually over days.

Signs of a severe asthma attack:

Getting a diagnosis

If you suspect that you or your child may have asthma, you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss available options to treat and ease your symptoms. They may do or suggest some of the following:

  • Ask you about your medical history, symptoms and what triggers them
  • Refer you to a hospital or clinic for further tests
    – This may be a combination of tests, as there is no one test that can diagnose asthma

Further information and resources

  • Asthma + Lung UK has a helpline where you can talk to experts about anything to do with your condition. They can be contacted via:
    – Phone: 0300 222 5800
    – Email:[email protected]
    – WhatsApp: 07378 606 728
  • Beat Asthma has resources for parents of children with asthma
  • A booklet for eating well for healthier lungs is available here