Asthma is a common condition that affects the airways It can start at any age and often runs in families. Typical symptoms are wheeze , cough , chest tightness and shortness of breath. 1in 10 children and 1in 20 adults have asthma. Asthma may be diagnosed on symptoms alone but sometimes you need to be assessed by means of a spirometry test or a peak flow test.
Treatment is usually with inhalers.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma you will be invited to attend an annual appointment with our Respiratory Practice Nurse. During this appointment she will assess how well your asthma is controlled, assess if you are able to use your inhalers correctly and discuss a treatment plan to enable you to manage your asthma effectively.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema occurring alone or in combination. COPD is usually caused by smoking. Symptoms include cough, breathlessness and frequent chest infections. COPD is very common but under diagnosed. It usually develops after the age of 40 and increases with age. It is more common in men than women.
A diagnosis of COPD is made based on symptoms, examination and a spirometry test.
Inhalers are often used to ease symptoms but the most important treatment is to stop smoking.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD you will be invited to attend an annual appointment with our Respiratory Practice Nurse. At this appointment she will perform a spirometry test to monitor the severity of your COPD and she will also check the level of oxygen in your blood using a pulse oximeter (a small device which clips onto your finger). She will assess how your COPD is affecting your ability to get around and how well your symptoms are controlled. COPD is a lifelong condition which tends to get worse with time. If severe it can have profound effects on your general health and wellbeing.
The nurse will check that you are using your inhalers correctly and discuss a management plan with you.
It is important that you have an annual Flu vaccination and a one off Pneumococcal vaccination to protect against Pneumococcus bacterial infection which can cause serious chest infections and pneumonia.
Spirometry is the most common test of lung function and shows how well you are able to breathe in and out. It is a test that can help in the diagnosis of a variety of lung conditions, especially COPD. It is also used to monitor the severity of lung conditions and response to treatment.
This test used to be performed in the hospital setting but thanks to the Friends of Chiddingfold Surgery we are able to do this test at the main surgery.
The Peak Expiratory Flow Rate is a measure of how fast a person can breathe out. It is a lung function test used in the assessment and management of patients with Asthma. It is measured by blowing into a Peak Flow Meter.
If the airways become narrowed or blocked due to asthma, peak flow values will drop because you are unable to blow air out of the lungs as well.
You may be prescribed a Peak Flow Meter by your doctor or by the Respiratory Practice Nurse to enable you to monitor and manage your asthma.