What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease. When you have asthma, the airways in your lungs are very sensitive and can become inflamed and swollen. In addition, certain triggers can cause airway muscles to compress; this is called “bronchoconstriction”. These same triggers cause the insides of the airways to produce extra mucus and swell even more. This narrows the space for the air to pass in and out of the lungs. When the muscles that wrap around your airways tighten, breathing becomes even harder. When that happens, it’s called an asthma flare-up, asthma episode or asthma “attack”. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Below is a list of many common asthma triggers.
- Pollen – microscopic particles released from trees, grasses, or weeds.
- Dust Mites – tiny insects that live in house dust.
- Pet Dander – skin scales that are furry or feathery that are shed.
- Indoor Molds – spores from molds that form in warm, damp, dark places.
Other Asthma Triggers:
- Air Pollution
- Cold Air
- Colds and Respiratory Viruses
- Tobacco Smoke
- Food and Preservatives
There is no cure for Asthma; however asthma doesn’t have to place significant limitations on your life. With effective treatments and management, symptoms can be controlled, minimizing their impact. Each case of asthma is different and requires treatments to be personalized. One general rule that applies to all is removing environmental factors that worsen ones asthma. Along with removing environmental factors, asthma medications are available to help control symptoms. Asthma medications are divided into two types, quick-relief and long-term and are either inhaled or in pill form. Quick-relief medicines are used to relieve coughing, wheezing and chest tightness that occurs during an asthma episode; long-term medications help control your asthma and are generally used when symptoms happen more than twice a week.
For people with asthma, it is important to have an asthma management plan. An asthma management plan is created by you and your doctor. An effective plan should include; identifying and minimizing contact with your asthma triggers, regularly taking your prescribed medications, monitoring your asthma and recognizing if it?s worsening, and knowing what to do if your asthma does worsen.