What Is Asthma?

AsthmaAsthma is a chronic, or life long, disease that can be serious—even life threatening. There is no cure for asthma. The good news is that it can be managed so you can live a normal, healthy life. The more you can learn about asthma, the better you and your loved ones can manage living with this disease, making the most of every day, and maintaining the quality of life that is important to you.

Asthma is a lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs. There are three things that you should know about asthma:

  1. Asthma is chronic. In other words, you live with it every day.
  2. It can be serious – even life threatening.
  3. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed so you live a normal, healthy life.

Symptoms Of Asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

What Causes Asthma

The exact cause of asthma is not known. Asthma tends to run in families and may be inherited, but environmental factors may also play a key role. Scientists continue to explore what causes asthma, but we do know that these factors play an important role in the development of asthma:

  1. Genetics. Asthma tends to runs in families. Genetics plays an important role in causing asthma.If your mom or dad have asthma, then you are more likely to have asthma too.
  2. Allergies. Some people are more likely to develop allergies than others, especially if your mom or dad had allergies. Certain allergies are linked to people who get asthma.
  3. Respiratory Infections. As the lungs develop in infancy and early childhood, certain respiratory infections have been shown to cause inflammation and damage the lung tissue. The damage that is caused in infancy or early childhood can impact lung function long-term.
  4. Environment. Contact with allergens, certain irritants, or exposure to viral infections as an infant or in early childhood when the immune system in developing have been linked to developing asthma. Irritants and air pollution may also play a significant role in adult-onset asthma.

Treatment For Asthma

Asthma InhalerOnce your healthcare provider makes a diagnosis of asthma, you will be prescribed medicines to help control your asthma. Medicines prescribed to treat your asthma may seem difficult to understand and difficult to use. It is important that you work with your healthcare provider on an asthma action plan designed specifically for your needs. An asthma action plan provides key information on when to take your medicines on a daily basis and what to do in an emergency. This will help you take control of your asthma so you can live a healthy and productive life.