Asthma affects more than 20 million Americans. The chronic disorder causes the lung’s airways to swell and narrow, which causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. While asthma can simply be a minor issue for some, for others it can interfere with daily life and activities and even cause a life-threatening asthma attack, which is a sudden worsening of symptoms.
Asthma can occur in any age, but it is more common in younger individuals (under age 40). It’s extremely prevalent among children with almost one in 10 children having asthma. If you have a family history of asthma, your risk for developing the condition is increased. However, asthma can develop in your adult years. The exact cause for asthma is not known.
While there is no cure for asthma, its symptoms can be managed. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergens. Common triggers can include animals, dust and changes in the weather. Symptoms can be mild or severe depending on your individual condition. These symptoms include:
- Coughing or wheezing attacks
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping
- Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
Your doctor may conduct a lung function test or another test to measure lung function. Other test may determine your specific allergens that trigger your asthma. Treatment for asthma can help you control symptoms and the airway swelling. Your doctor will determine the best asthma treatment for you. Most of the time asthma can be controlled with medication. The two basic types of medication are drugs to prevent attacks and quick-relief drugs for use during an asthma attack.
If you need to see a doctor about your asthma or you think you may have asthma, make an appointment with one of our doctors in our Center for Primary Care.