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What is Asthma?

Normal Bronchiole

Asthma is a disease of the lungs that affects many adults and children. People with asthma have very sensitive air passages in their lungs. These air passages, called bronchial tubes, become swollen when an asthma flare happens.

Usually, the swelling happens as a reaction to things like a cold, exercise, cold air, cigarette smoke, dust, allergies, or household pets.

The swollen airways produce mucus and become narrow. This causes wheezing, coughing, or trouble breathing. Asthma is not the same in every person. For some, symptoms are mild. For others, they can be very serious. If you see your doctor regularly, however, you can learn about what causes asthma flare-ups and follow a treatment plan. Asthma symptoms can almost always be controlled.

There are four things that you can do to help control your/your child's asthma. These will help you lead a normal, active life:


Brochiole During an Asthma Episode
  1. Medicines can be prescribed by your doctor for asthma. Some prevent asthma symptoms and some make them better. Be sure to take your medicines as prescribed.
  2. You can learn how to stay away from the things in the home, school, work place, and outside that cause asthma to get worse. These things are called triggers.
  3. People with asthma can tell how well their lungs are working by using a peak flow meter at home, school, or work. This is a simple plastic tool that can he kept nearby at all times. You can monitor your/your child's asthma by keeping a record of symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing.
  4. If you learn about asthma and talk to your doctor and nurse often, you can be in control of the disease and live an active life. Your providers are your partners. They can help you learn about your medicine, and about other ways to recognize and control asthma.