A quick guide to asthma: Causes, triggers and treatments

Written by: Dr Ahmed Sayeed
Edited by: Conor Dunworth

In his latest online article, Dr Ahmed Sayeed explains everything you need to know about asthma. He offers his expert insight into the common triggers and treatments for asthma, and explains how it is diagnosed.


What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the airways in the lungs. It can cause them to become inflamed and narrowed, making it difficult to breathe. This condition, while common, can be quite distressing for those affected.


How can you tell if you have asthma?

You may have asthma if you experience symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness, especially if these symptoms worsen at night or in response to specific triggers.


What are some common asthma triggers?

Asthma triggers vary widely and can instigate or exacerbate symptoms. Common asthma triggers include:

  • allergens (like pollen, dust mites, and pet dander)
  • respiratory infections
  • cold air
  • smoke
  • exercise
  • certain irritants (like strong odours or fumes)


What is an asthma attack?

An asthma attack represents a critical phase of the condition. An asthma attack occurs when the airways become severely narrowed, making it extremely hard to breathe.

Symptoms during an attack can include severe shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Prompt intervention is essential during an asthma attack to alleviate these distressing symptoms.


How is asthma treated?

Managing asthma usually involves a multifaceted approach. It is typically treated with a combination of medications. Long-term control medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, help manage inflammation, while quick-relief medications, like bronchodilators, provide rapid relief during an asthma attack.

It's important for asthma sufferers to work with their doctor to create a personalized asthma action plan for proper management.



If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Ahmed Sayeed, you can do so today via his Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Ahmed Sayeed
Pulmonology & respiratory medicine

Dr Ahmed Sayeed is a highly regarded and skilled pulmonologist and respiratory medicine specialist who possesses expertise in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, bronchiolitis, cough, and interstitial lung disease (lung scarring). He practises at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Dr Sayeed obtained his first medical qualification in 2000 after completing a bachelor's degree in medicine. Following this, he went on to complete an MD in internal medicine in 2004, before achieving his final qualification in 2015: a master's degree in internal medicine at the Royal College of Physicians. Dr Sayeed, thus far, has published five articles in peer-reviewed journals and is currently working as an associate specialist in respiratory medicine, and also as an acute medicine consultant in the acute medical unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. 

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