What Is Asthma ?
Asthma is a chronic illness that affects the lung’s airways. The lung’s airways carry air in and out of the lungs. In people suffering with asthma, the muscles in their airways can become constricted and swollen, allowing less air to pass through. Symptoms of asthma can include:
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Chronic coughing
Symptoms of asthma most commonly occur in reaction to various allergens, irritants, activities, and surroundings. These triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms, also called asthma attacks. These triggers can include:
- Allergens, such as animal dander, dust, mold, pollen, or cockroaches
- Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, or sprays (hairspray, disinfectant spray, etc.)
- Certain medications
- Physical activity
- Sulfites in foods or drinks
- Changes in weather
Adult-onset asthma can be triggered by allergies. Other triggers include:
- Extended exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or work materials
- Hormonal fluctuations in women, which can happen during and after pregnancy or menopause
- Certain illnesses (such as a cold or the flu)
Asthma can re-appear if you suffered with asthma as a child. In fact, people who suffered from asthma when they were younger experience more severe symptoms when developing adult-onset asthma.
The exact cause of asthma is unknown, and there is no cure. But, when properly treated, asthma can be maintained.
Doctors who specialize in asthma work with patients to help control their symptoms. Since everyone experiences asthma differently, doctors will prescribe different medications and create different plans to fit each individual’s symptoms and triggers. Prescription asthma medications come in two types: long-term control and short-term control. Long-term control medications help prevent asthma symptoms while short-term medications give instant relief from symptoms.