Asthma

Asthma is a chronic medical condition that affects the respiratory system. Asthma causes the walls of your airways to be very sensitive. An asthma attack can be triggered by a variety of things, including allergic reactions, the common cold, smoke, hot or cold air, exercise, or stress.

Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Who is at risk? Asthma can affect anyone. It usually, but not always, begins in childhood. Certain things increase risk, such as:

  • Family history of asthma
  • Extreme weather (hot or cold)
  • Poor air quality (as is often found in urban environments)
  • A stressful environment

Treatment of Asthma

Medications are available to control asthma over the long-term, as well as to provide quick-relief in the case of an asthma attack. As asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition, once diagnosed you should maintain a relationship with a heath care provider. In addition to using appropriate medication, it is important to learn about the things that trigger your asthma in order to prevent attacks.

When should I see a doctor?

If you think you or your child is suffering from asthma, see a doctor. Once diagnosed, you should continue to visit your doctor on a regular bases. Furthermore, if symptoms worsen or if you experience a particularly bad attack, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

For more information on Asthma, see the following websites:

Adult Asthma information from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Childhood Asthma information from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Medline Plus (NIH)

Asthma page Student Asthma Action Card from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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