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What is asthma? 

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes your airways to narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. Your airways are the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs. An asthma attack can cause your airways to be inflamed and narrowed making it difficult for you to breathe. According to the CDC, 1 in 13 people in the US have asthma. There is no cure for asthma. However, with proper treatment and medicine, your asthma symptoms are manageable.   

What causes asthma?

Asthma can be caused by a combination of environmental and inherited (genetic) factors. Asthma attacks can be triggered by various irritants and substances that can cause allergies. You can develop asthma at any age and stage of life. From children to older adults, asthma can be developed at any time. If is important to see a provider if you have a persistent cough or frequent cough attacks.  

What are symptoms of asthma? 

Signs and symptoms of asthma include:  

  • Chest tightness or pain in the chest 
  • Shortness of breath or breathlessness 
  • Wheezing when exhaling 
  • Coughing at night, during exercise, or when laughing 
  • Coughing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus (cold or flu) 
  • Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing 

When should I see my provider?

Due to swelling of the airways, a severe asthma attack can be life threatening. Seek emergency care if you are experiencing:  

  • No improvement of your asthma attack after using your inhaler 
  • Shortness of breath when you are doing minimal physical activity  
  • Rapid, severe shortness of breath or wheezing 

Contact your provider if you are experiencing:  

  • If you are experiencing frequent coughing or wheezing that has lasted more than a few days.  
  • If you are experiencing other symptoms of asthma such as shortness of breath or wheezing when exhaling.  
  • If you are experiencing new symptoms of asthma or if your symptoms have changed.

How can I improve my quality of life? 

  • Treatment Plan: Follow your treatment plan you and your provider have created.  
  • Medications: Take medications as prescribed and directed by your provider. Do not change medications without consulting your provider.  
  • Monitor your symptoms: Be aware when your symptoms worsen or change.  
  • Understand your asthma attack triggers: The better you understand what triggers an asthma attack, the better you can avoid those triggers.  
  • Be aware of your quick-relief inhaler use: If you are using your inhaler at an increasing amount, your provider may need to adjust your treatment plan to help you get control over your asthma.  

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