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Adrian Harrison - Respiratory Physician

Private Service

Asthma

Asthma is the result of inflammation and narrowing of the breathing tubes (bronchi). Asthma symptoms can vary, but often include cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle, or one may predominate, such as cough. Asthma can be troublesome because of frequent attacks or because of persistent symptoms - or because both patterns are present. 
 
Don't put up with asthma symptoms. Most people can be symptom free and lead a normal life, and this should be the aim.
 
Long periods of partly controlled asthma can cause inflamed breathing tubes to develop scar tissue in their walls, and this is a permanent change. It causes 'premature aging' of the lungs. Good asthma control is important.
 
If you are having asthma problems, see your doctor, and be prepared to work with him/her to find the right treatment programme for you. If you still are not winning, ask to be referred to a chest physician, or a paediatrician in the case of children.  
 
My responsibilities?
(1) I always look for factors that 'drive' asthma. These may be environmental, or because of problems in the body itself: hay fever is a classic for making asthma worse.
 
My other aims are:
(2) to get the asthma problem under control, and then
(3) to find the least treatment that keeps the asthma well controlled.
 
Treatment
This may include taking medicines and/or changing some lifestyle factors. Obviously, smoking makes asthma worse. It's important to look for things (triggers) that make asthma worse or bring on asthma attacks.
 
I'm not against natural health treatments, but I don't have any expertise with them. I understand when people prefer natural remedies. There has to be 'give and take' in this area, and honesty is essential.
 
Now, there are plenty of places where you can look up asthma medicines. I've decided not to make this website one of them. I would love to tell you about them in person or to answer your questions.
 
For more information on asthma see www.asthmanz.co.nz
 

This page was last updated at 6:46PM on September 3, 2019.