Asthma is a respiratory condition that can cause the airways to become arrow and irritated, and it can affect people of all ages.
Some people may have breathing problems most the time, whereas other people can experience asthma attacks, where it sometimes gets worse for a short time, happening suddenly or gradually over a few days.
The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but people can have certain triggers, such as genetics, pollution and modern hygiene standards.
Having an allergy-related condition, such as eczema, can increase your chance of getting asthma, as well as having a family history of asthma, exposure to tobacco smoke as a child, and having had bronchiolitis.
So what are the symptoms which may indicate you have the condition? The NHS lists for main symptoms.
These are wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing, breathlessness, a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it, and coughing.
Many things can cause these symptom to happen, but they are more likely to be signs of asthma if they happen often and keeping coming back or are worse at night and early in the morning.
Charity Asthma UK urges patients to be aware of their triggers, revealed in its top 10 causes of asthma attacks in the country.
Colds and flu are the most common triggers of asthma attack, an Asthma UK survey revealed.
More than four out of every five patients experience worse symptoms when they’ve been infected by a virus.
Dust, air pollution and pollen are also common triggers.
Other causes of asthma attacks include perfumes, mould and paint fumes, the survey found.
“This research is vital as not every person with asthma knows what their triggers are, and some people have more than one trigger,” said Asthma UK’s Clinical Lead and practising GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.
“We’re encouraging everyone with the condition to keep a diary of their daily activities and asthma symptoms to help them spot any patterns.
“Once people know their triggers, they can prepare for them, whether that’s avoiding cigarette smoke or pollution hotspots.
“We’d also encourage people with asthma to always take their preventer medicine as prescribed as it builds up protection in their airways over time, making them less likely to have an asthma attack, and take their blue reliever inhaler if they have asthma symptoms.
“They should also follow the advice in their written asthma action plan and attend their yearly asthma review.
“People can call Asthma UK’s nurses to get more information on 0300 222 5800 or visit asthma.org.uk/triggers.”
Many triggers are difficult to avoid, so it’s always best to take your preventer inhaler.
But, Asthma UK has also issued advice on how to prevent asthma attacks from the top 10 most common triggers.