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Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the lungs. Often starting in childhood, asthma causes swelling and narrowing of small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breath.
Asthma is very common, affecting 2 out of every 10 people in Scotland. Over 5 million people in the UK require treatment for asthma.
There is no cure for asthma and the cause is not always clear. However, your symptoms can be controlled with treatment and avoiding triggers that can make it worse.
If you have asthma, you may experience one of more of these symptoms:
These symptoms usually come and go and can change throughout the day. They can happen at rest or when performing activities and they are sometimes worse at night. If you are experiencing these symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Asthma is a very manageable condition. It is usually treated with both reliever and preventor inhalers, though some people are also prescribed tablets.
The most common treatment for asthma is inhalers:
Other treatments include tablets, injections and, in rare cases, surgery. If you’re diagnosed with asthma, your doctor will discuss potential treatments for you.
Once diagnosed and treated, most people feel much better, but you may be looking for other ways to support your treatment. Make sure that you use your prescription as directed, eat healthily and stay hydrated.
Exercise can sometimes be a little difficult for asthma sufferers. Your doctor will advise you on suitable exercise for you.
Visit our Living with a Chest Condition section for more information about how to manage your condition at home, how to stay well and reduce your risk of developing further chest conditions.
You can make sure people with chest, heart or stroke in conditions Scotland get the support they need after returning home from hospital.
If you – or someone you know – needs help right now, we’re here for you.
Read our Essential Guides for more information.
The My Lungs, My Life website is a self-management website for people living with asthma, as well as the parents of children suffering from asthma. It provides information, practical advice and tutorial videos for inhalers.
View this page
Download Your Chest Toolkit for advice and information about living with a chest condition.
Visit our Services page to find out more about the support that’s available to you.
This page was last updated on June 15, 2022 and is under regular review. If you feel anything is missing or incorrect, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to provide feedback.