Wednesday 20 September 2017

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Online asthma test helping sufferers gain control

An asthma online test is helping asthma sufferers identify their level of control over the disease. This is good news for 9% of the Maltese population who, according to the latest European Health Interview Survey, suffer from this condition. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Malta has one of the highest incidences of asthma in comparison with other European countries.

Designed by medical asthma experts and scientifically tested on hundreds of asthmatic sufferers aged from 4 years to 60+, the Asthma Control Test (ACT) provides asthma sufferers and medical professionals with a useful score to help determine the best medication strategies for the individual.

An estimated 300 million individuals are affected by asthma worldwide and the prevalence is increasing, especially among children. A chronic inflammation of the lung airways that causes coughing, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath, asthma can have a serious impact on one’s quality of life and, when uncontrolled, can even be fatal. Asthma tends to run in families, which means that one is more likely to develop asthma if someone in that family already has it. Also, children with eczema or food allergy are more likely than other children to develop asthma.

Allergy to pollen, house dust mites or pets increases one’s chance of developing asthma, while exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution or other inhaled irritants can cause asthma symptoms in those with an underlying tendency to asthma.

Freely available online at www.asthmacontroltest.com, ACT is intended for two categories of sufferers: adults aged 12 years and over and children aged between 4 and 11 years. Once the category is chosen, a world map pops up. Users in Malta are encouraged to click on Europe and then on Malta. The Asthma Control Test contains just five questions that one can complete online or offline in just 30 seconds. The results can help individuals to determine the level of control they have over their asthma. For greater accuracy, it is recommended that one completes the test at different times of the year.

The test results should be discussed with one’s doctor to contribute to an effective treatment plan. Medical experts now agree that the level of asthma control is a key feature when determining the best asthma treatment required.

Asthma symptoms may occur several times in a day or week in affected individuals, and, for some people become worse during physical activity or at night. Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism.

Although asthma cannot be cured, appropriate management can control the disease and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life. Medications should be prescribed in line with the nature and extent of one’s symptoms. Moreover, medication is not the only way to control asthma. It is also important to avoid asthma triggers – stimuli that irritate and inflame the airways. With medical support, each asthma patient must learn what triggers he or she should avoid.

More information about asthma and proper asthma management is available on the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) website www.ginasthma.org.

The Asthma Control Test is available free of charge at www.asthmacontroltest.com.

More information can be also obtained from the Malta Asthmatics Society via email: [email protected]

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