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All about asthma

Published in Allergy & Asthma Author: Eyas Abla,MD

Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system that causes the airways to swell and narrow, making breathing difficult. Approximately eight percent of Americans suffer from asthma and it is one of the most common long-term diseases in children. A family history of asthma, having another allergic condition, and being exposed to smoke, pollutants or occupational chemicals can increase your risk for developing asthma.

Although asthma is unlikely to be cured, it can be controlled. Managing symptoms is usually achieved by proper preventative measures in addition to long-term controller medicines and quick-relief inhalers.

Asthma symptoms include:

  • wheezing or noisy breathing
  • coughing — often at night or early in the morning or when you exercise
  • a tight feeling in the chest
  • trouble breathing

Asthma may be triggered by allergens or irritants entering the lungs. Asthma triggers vary for each person.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • pollen
  • dust mites
  • mold
  • animals
  • irritants — such as smoke and air pollutants
  • colds, flu and other illness
  • cold air and humidity
  • exercise

Your health care provider can help you create a treatment plan for your asthma, which often includes a blend of medication and avoiding triggers. Your health care provider can help you identify some of the things that may trigger your asthma symptoms and may suggest a referral to an asthma specialist for allergy testing. Asthma can change over time so it's important to stay in touch with your health care provider to monitor your signs and symptoms and to adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Learn more about the services offered at CentraCare Clinic - Health Plaza Allergy & Asthma.