Want to know more about asthma and what it is?
We asked the National Institutes of Health for answers to basic questions.
We know: All About Asthma
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). When the airways react, they get narrower and less air flows through to your lung tissues.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Common symptoms include:
What causes asthma?
The exact cause or causes are not known. The condition does seem to run in families. There are a variety of things that can make asthma symptoms worse and lead to attacks of asthma. These include exercise, allergens, irritants, and viral infections.
Allergens include things like animal dander, dust mites, pollen, mold and cockroaches.
Irritants include things like air pollution, cigarette smoke, strong odors, scented or perfumed products, and strong emotions like stress or crying.
In addition, certain medications, sulfites and infections can trigger asthma attacks.
How is asthma commonly treated?
Asthma treatment includes avoiding things that bring on your asthma symptoms or make symptoms worse. Doing so can reduce the amount of medicine you need to control your asthma. Allergy medicine and allergy shots in some cases may help your asthma.
What about asthma medications?
There are two main types of medicines for asthma:
Quick relief medicines are used only when needed. Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators work by relaxing tightened muscles around the airways. Anyone who has asthma should always have one of these inhalers in case of an attack. For severe attacks, your doctor may use steroids to treat the inflammation.
Long-term control medicines include: