The 411 on Asthma

May is Asthma Awareness Month.

Did you know that there are about 25 million people with asthma in the USA? That’s nearly 1 in every 12 people!

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease. If a person has asthma, his or her airways are always more inflamed than a person’s who does not have asthma. When a person with asthma encounters a trigger, the airways become even more inflamed and the muscles around the airways can also tighten. This makes it difficult to move air in and out of the lungs and can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

What triggers asthma?

It is different for everyone. Second-hand smoke, dust mites, mold, cockroaches, stress or excitement, air pollution, colds and flus, pet allergens, seasonal allergies, and physical activity are examples of triggers. Certain triggers may bother some people more than others. Even though many people with asthma get the impression that they should avoid physical activity, exercise can still be safe with the right planning and with help from your doctor or health care team.

Is there a cure?

There is no tried and true cure for asthma. It is important to work with your health care provider(s) to learn how to manage your symptoms. Parents of school-aged children should provide their school nurse with a copy of their asthma action plan and any medicine(s) they may need during the school day. Asthma can change over time, so it is important to track your symptoms in case your treatment needs to be adjusted.