Self Help

InformationAsthma and COPD


Asthma is a common condition that affects the airways – the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. In people with asthma their airways are susceptible to irritation from various ‘triggers’ such as smoke, chemicals or infection. When the airways become irritated they go into spasm, becoming narrower. The lining of the airways can also swell, causing further narrowing. As the breathing tubes are now narrower air ‘whistles’ through them- causing wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

The frequency of asthma attacks and quality of life can both be greatly improved by good ‘control’ of asthma. Every registered patient with asthma is recommended to have an annual check-up at our Asthma Clinic. During the clinic the Specialist Asthma Nurse will check that you are being prescribed appropriate inhalers, that the dosages are correct, and that the inhaler is being used properly. Advice can also be given about ways to preserve the health of the lungs and minimise the symptoms and exacerbations of asthma.

These include:

• stopping smoking. Your GP or the Stopping Smoking clinic can help with this, providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy if appropriate.

• keeping up to date with ‘flu vaccines.

• maintaining cardiovascular health through regular aerobic exercise, such as walking for 20-30 minutes a day. Please see your GP if you are ensure if you are fit to exercise.

• using inhalers effectively.

• monitoring Peak Flows to aid recognition of ‘warning signs’.

For further information on asthma please use the following search engine or websites:


For information about COPD please use click the following link:

British Lung Foundation - COPD

For further information about COPD please visit Patient UK and search for COPD.

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