Asthma is a common lung disease that affects 565,000 people in the Netherlands. Asthma affects more women than men and is chacterised by chronic inflammation of the airways.
People with asthma experience a variety of symptoms, including: wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and a tightness in the chest. Often, these symptoms are brought on in response to certain stimuli. Sometimes they can come on suddenly and quickly get worse during an asthma attack.
Increased mucus in the lungs
When people have asthma, their lungs have a stronger reaction to stimuli and produce more mucus than people without the condition. Their mucus membranes swell and produce extra mucus and fluid. In addition, the muscles around the airways are constricted, which causes the airways to narrow. Breathing becomes more difficult and asthmatics can’t get enough air when they breathe, which results in a tightness in the lungs.
Types of asthma
Asthma can be triggered several ways. Symptoms can be caused by an allergic asthma reaction, such as house dust mites, pollen, animal dander, certain substances in food or medicine. Other stimuli that can cause symptoms are exhaust fumes, smoke, gasoline, perfumes, detergents or the weather.
If someone does not have allergic asthma, then it does matter at what age the asthma began, if someone is overweight, the amount of symptoms and what kind of chronic inflammation is present in the lungs.
If someone has a specific form of asthma, they will need specific treatment, prescriptions for respiratory medication and other treatments. In addition to allergic asthma, other forms of asthma are:
- non-allergic eosinophilic asthma
- neutrophilic asthma
- asthma in the elderly
- obesity asthma
If asthma symptoms are difficult to control with medication, we consider this to be severe asthma. One or two people out of 20 have severe asthma. Being overweight or obese are major problems for people with severe asthma. It is difficult to treat this kind of asthma, which can lead to permanent stenosis of the respiratory tract, as with COPD.
Asthma is not curable, but it is manageable and most patients do well with treatment.We create specialised plans to help people with severe forms of asthma.