Asthma

Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs. You might hear your doctor call it a chronic respiratory disease. It causes your airways to get inflamed and narrow and makes breathing difficult. Severe asthma can make it hard to talk or be active. Some people refer to asthma as “bronchial asthma.”

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Risk Factors:

There are usually reasons or risk factors that predispose you to asthma and respiratory problems. Asthma can happen to anyone without any risk factors, but it is less likely if there are no risk factors present.

Avoidance of the risk factors you can control is crucial in preventing asthma symptoms. While you cannot change your gender or family history, you can avoid smoking with asthma, breathing polluted air, allergens, and taking care of your general health so you don’t become overweight. Take control of your asthma — by controlling your asthma risk factors.

 
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What are the symptoms of asthma?

The symptoms of asthma include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing, especially at night or early morning
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing, which causes a whistling sound when you breathe out

These symptoms can range from mild to severe. You may have them every day or only once in a while. When you are having an asthma attack, your symptoms get much worse. The attacks may come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they can be life-threatening.

 
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Self-management of Asthma

Taking care of yourself can help keep your symptoms under control, including:

  • Get regular exercise. Having asthma doesn’t mean you have to be less active. Treatment can prevent asthma attacks and control symptoms during activity.

Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs, which helps relieve asthma symptoms. If you exercise in cold temperatures, wear a face mask to warm the air you breathe.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts you at higher risk of other health problems.
  • Control heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s possible that the acid reflux that causes heartburn may damage lung airways and worsen asthma symptoms. If you have frequent or constant heartburn, talk to your doctor about treatment options. You may need treatment for GERD before your asthma symptoms improve.

 

What are the treatments for asthma?

If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include

  • Short-term relief medicines are also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
  • Control medicines, you take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.
 
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