Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that is characterised by persistent inflammation of the lower airways within the lungs. There are subtypes of asthma but In most cases it is an allergic disorder. The degree of airways inflammation fluctuates according to various factors, e.g. exposure to allergens, viruses and other triggers. With enough inflammation symptoms of cough, wheeze, chest tightness and breathlessness are provoked. Even when no symptoms are present there may be significant airways inflammation.
Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world; approximately 15% of our population is affected.
For the vast majority of patients asthma can be well controlled with simple, safe medications that are taken regularly. A small proportion of people have more severe asthma that requires additional medications and specialist management.