About Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

Asthma can be diagnosed by having regular physical checkups, which include checking lung function and allergy testing. During a checkup, the doctor will ask questions about coughing habits, breathing problems and other symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, and colds that last more than 10 days.

The doctor will also ask whether or not any family members have asthma, allergies or other breathing problems. Asthma is also diagnosed by spirometry, which is a breathing test that measures the largest amount of air that you can exhale after taking a deep breath.

What is an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack occurs in the body’s airways, which carry air to the lungs. During an asthma attack, the walls of the airways both swell and constrict, causing the airways to shrink. Therefore, less air can go in and out of the lungs. An asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

What Causes an Asthma Attack?

Asthma attacks can occur when one is exposed to particular things in the environment (called “asthma triggers”), such as house dust mites, tobacco smoke and pollen.

Can Asthma be Controlled?

Asthma can be controlled by knowing the warning signs of an attack and by avoiding triggers. There are medications that can help control asthma, which should be discussed with your doctor.

For more information on Asthma, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website

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