Updated 15 April 2016

Could I have asthma?

South Africa has the fourth most asthma deaths in the world and you may be displaying symptoms without knowing it. Recognise the symptoms of this killer disease and get the help you need.


Just a wheeze? A harmless night-cough? Exercise is supposed to be this hard, right?

Maybe, or maybe you’re displaying the classic symptoms of asthma which you’re ignoring and putting your life at risk. Believe it or not, people still die of asthma in 2016, a lot more than you might think, in fact.

South Africa has the fourth-most annual asthma deaths in the world, with the majority being people between 5 and 35 years old. Worse, this number is on the rise. 

What is asthma? 

Asthma is actually a form of bronchitis, which means it occurs when the lower airways of the lungs become inflamed, this can then inhibit their ability to transport respiratory gasses. Asthma is largely caused by one’s genetics and is often caused by irritants in the air around you, such as pollen, pet dander and pollution.

What causes asthma?

The underlying cause of asthma is generally agreed as being genetic, with the IgE gene being suspected as the location of the issue.

This means that if someone in your family is asthmatic, there is a much higher chance of you having the condition too. 

As for what causes asthma to flare up, the specific irritants or allergens can vary from sufferer to sufferer but the most common are:

• Pollen

• Food and certain additives

• Dust and dust mites

• Mould

• Feathers, either from animals or in down pillows and duvets

• Animal hair or saliva

• Cigarette smoke or traffic fumes

• Aerosol sprays, solvents and other chemicals

How is it treated?

Asthma treatment has two main elements: environmental prevention and medication. Environmental prevention involves taking measures to minimise the chance of coming into contact with the irritants that could cause your asthma to flare up or develop into a full-blown attack.

This could include sitting in the non-smoking areas of restaurants or more regularly changing bed-linen, for example.

Medication is the main part of asthma treatment, given how difficult it can be to avoid pollen, for instance.

The exact medication and dosage will vary according to the specifics of your condition, and it’s very important to follow the treatment instructions given to you by your doctor.

It is always best to consult a physician if you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from asthma.

Read more:

Why we need to take asthma more seriously

This article was brought to you by Cipla Medpro South Africa (Pty) Limited and its affiliates.
Find out how Cipla is advancing healthcare for all in South Africa.




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