Chronic Diseases: Asthma
This month on Jinga Life, we are concentrating on chronic diseases. We’ll be talking you through some specific conditions that millions of people face worldwide, today we’re looking at asthma.
What Is Asthma?
You’ve probably heard of asthma before, but what exactly is it? According to the Asthma Society of Ireland “Asthma is a condition that affects the airways- the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. In asthma, the airways become over-sensitive; meaning that they react to things that wouldn’t usually cause a problem, such as cold air or dust.”
Who does Asthma effect?
Asthma can affect people of all ages, and is pretty prominent worldwide. 339 million people are expected to be suffering from asthma, according to a 2018 report.
In Ireland, 470,000 people suffer from asthma. Globally speaking, Ireland has 4th highest prevalence of asthma. “Asthma is the commonest chronic disease in childhood and the most common respiratory condition in Ireland.” (HSE)
Symptoms of Asthma
Signs to look out for when it comes to asthma include:
Shortness of breath
Chest tightness or pain
Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
You know the age old saying, “prevention not cure”? Well this is especially true of chronic diseases like asthma. Living with asthma is doable, but becoming proactive in managing you or your family members asthma is vital. The Mayo Clinic recommend preventative care such as:
Taking medication as prescribed: Even if your asthma seems to be easing, never change your medication without first speaking to your doctor
Follow your asthma action plan: Write a list of medication, and develop a plan to cope with an attack and stick to it!
Identify triggers: Get to know what sets off your asthma and put plans in place to manage or avoid such triggers.
Prevention and Jinga Life
One of the most common means of prevention was to monitor your breathing (AFFA & The Mayo Clinic). We at Jinga Life are advocates for monitoring your breathing through wearable tech. If you suffer from asthma you might have heard of a Peak Flow Monitor. To use this device you “simply blow into it, as instructed in your doctor’s office, to monitor your airways” (AFFA). Your doctor will often assign a certain number to a certain level.
Whilst this has been a great way to monitor your breathing, having to physically write down and record every time you use the Peak Flow Monitor can get annoying, especially if you lose track of the paper.
Like all things at Jinga Life we believe your health care should be in the palm of your hands, and accessible anytime, que our app! With asthma, you can use new tech to track and monitor your breathing. Like the Peak Flow Monitor you simply blow into the tech instrument to record your breathing level. Instead of scrambling for papers to write down the info, the device sends the information to your phone, and allows you to see an overview of your breathing throughout the weeks.
Better yet, you can show this to your doctor should you need to visit. They can save time in identifying what’s going on as they’re presented with clear consistent info straight away.