What is Asthma?
Asthma is a long-term lung condition that affects 5.4 million people in the UK, often starting in childhood, but asthma can develop in adulthood too. Asthma can run in families, for example, if your mother or father has asthma, or can be caused by allergies, or other factors.
There are different types of asthma and the seriousness varies from person to person. Most people can manage their asthma well by using a preventer inhaler daily, and a reliever inhaler when symptoms flare up.
It is important that you understand your asthma triggers so you can work out how to avoid things that may set off your asthma, for example, pollen, colds and viruses or pets.
Peak flow meter and peak flow chart
During the course of your investigations for asthma, you may need to keep a diary of your peak flow readings (how hard and fast you can breathe out through a peak flow meter).
A few people may need more investigations or a trial of treatment to make a diagnosis. The most important thing is to keep a diary of symptoms and peak flow readings and use any medication consistently.
Peak flow readings are a measure of how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs. It can detect changes in your airways, if they are tight and inflamed your peak flow score will be lower than normal, which may be a sign your asthma is getting worse.
Your asthma nurse may ask you to keep a peak flow diary so we can see how controlled your asthma is and work out the best asthma plan for you.
Here is a chart to record your peak flow readings. Further information on how to use a peak flow meter can be found from Asthma and Lung UK
If you don't have a peak flow meter these can be purchased online, from your local chemist or we can prescribe one.
Your care plan
Here are links to the downloadable care plans to help you manage your asthma.
Asthma Information Links
There are lots of different types of inhalers, this video shows the various inhalers you may use and the environmental impact to be considered.
Recycling your Inhalers
If you put your inhalers in your normal household waste they will release more gases when they are taken to landfill which has a negative impact on the climate. Find out more about the environmental impact of inhalers on the Greener Inhaler website.
We are working towards reducing the amount of Metered Dose inhalers by considering patients with asthma to use alternative devices- which have a lower carbon footprint. Make patients aware of inhaler recycling schemes locally. Our practice pharmacist and nursing team facilitate both good asthma care and sustainable choices of inhalers. Please speak to the team if you want to review your inhalers.
If you cannot recycle your inhalers please return them to your pharmacy for safe incineration.
Read more about our commitment to sustainability in General Practice on our page Healthier Planet, Healthier People.