Asthma is a long-term (chronic) lung disease. The airways react to triggers (allergens
and irritants). This makes it hard to breathe. With exposure to triggers, these changes
of these changes make the airways narrow. This makes it hard for air to go out of the
lungs. And fresh oxygen can't get into the body.
Experts don't know the exact cause of asthma. They believe it is partly inherited. The
environment, infections, and chemicals released by the body also play a role.
Exercise causes symptoms in many people with asthma. Symptoms can occur during
exercise. They can also occur shortly after exercise. In some people, stress or strong
feelings can cause asthma symptoms.
of these may be asthma triggers:
is most common in:
Other factors include:
healthcare provider will take your health history and give you a physical exam. You will
also have other tests. An important test is spirometry.
spirometer is a device used to find out how well the lungs are working. It measures the
amount and speed of air breathed out.
Other tests may also be done to check for conditions such as allergies.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It
will also depend on how severe the condition is.
There is no cure for asthma. It can often be controlled by staying away from triggers.
And by taking medicines as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Watching symptoms is a key part of asthma care. So is knowing what to do if symptoms
get worse. Experts recommend making an Asthma Action Plan with your provider.
The 2 types of asthma medicines are long-term control and short-term (quick-relief)
medicines. Long-term control medicines are often taken every day. They help prevent
symptoms. Quick-relief medicines calm asthma symptoms fast. But they only last for a
short time. You may take either type of medicine alone. Some people take both.
Your healthcare provider should regularly check and adjust your medicines as
At first, it may take a few weeks for long-term control medicines to work. You must
take these medicines every day. These medicines include:
Quick-relief medicines quickly relax the muscles around the airways. But the relief
only lasts about 2 to 3 hours.
These medicines may include:
Inhaled medicines go right to the lungs. There have fewer side effects than
medicines taken by mouth. Inhaled medicines may be anti-inflammatory or
bronchodilating, or both. The devices used are:
Staying away from triggers is key in managing asthma. Triggers may be allergens,
irritants, other health problems, exercise, medicines, and strong emotions. The
following can help you limit your exposure:
Exercise is a common asthma trigger. But don't limit sports or exercise unless a
healthcare provider tells you to. Exercise is good for your health and lungs.
Swimming, golf, and karate are good choices if you have asthma. Always warm up before
exercise. And cool down after. Ask your provider about using your quick-relief
medicine before starting exercise.
If you smoke, quit.
Stay away from smoke. Don’t use wood stoves or kerosene heaters. Also stay away from
strong perfumes, cleaning products, fresh paint, and other things with strong
Some medicines can make asthma symptoms worse. These medicines include aspirin,
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and beta-blockers. Talk with your
provider about your asthma history and medicine use.
Some health problems can make it harder to control asthma. These include:
Work with your provider to treat
any of these problems.
The strong feelings that go with laughing and crying can trigger asthma symptoms.
You can learn how to better manage your emotions.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: