Asthma

Asthma affects an estimated 18.7 million adults and 6.8 million children throughout the United States by making breathing difficult, and triggering coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. There's no known cure for asthma, but its symptoms can be controlled, even though they may change over time.

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    Quick Facts:

    • Causes airways to become narrow and swollen
    • Causes airways to produce extra mucus
    • Can be minor, major, or life-threatening
    • Flare-ups can be situational

    AsthmaSymptoms of asthma may be caused by certain situations, such as during exercise in cold and dry air, as a result of chemical or dust irritants in the workplace, and asthma may even be triggered by allergens like pollen, mold, dust, or pet dander.

    Symptoms:

    • Chest pain or tightness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Attacks of coughing or wheezing
    • Wheezing while exhaling

    While there's no clear cause of asthma, or solid reasons why some people get it and others don't, many triggers can cause an asthma attack. Some of these include cold, dry air, high stress levels, intense physical activity, colds and other respiratory infections, and even the use of certain medications, such as beta blockers and aspirin.

    There are many factors that can play a role in your chances for asthma. These include having a blood relative with asthma, regular exposure to exhaust fumes and other pollutants, smoking, obesity, and having other allergic conditions.

    Treatment & Management:

    The treatments and management methods for asthma should always be discussed with and recommended by your healthcare provider. Options he or she may settle on include inhaled corticosteroids, combination medications, or oral or intravenous corticosteroids. These medications may improve your quality of life and decrease the severity of your asthma symptoms.

    References:

    MayoClinic.org -- Diseases and Conditions: Asthma

    AAAAI.org -- Asthma Overview

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