What is Asthma and Who Has It?
Asthma is a chronic (long-term) disease in which the lungs become inflamed and airways narrow and react to "triggers”. Asthma can impact anyone.
What Causes Asthma, or an Asthma Attack?
It is not clearly known why or how people develop asthma. Research suggests that a combination of family genes and environmental exposures produce asthma.
Asthma can begin in early childhood or may first appear later in life. Not all childhood asthma continues into adulthood.
Family history of asthma, respiratory infections in young children, exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and the first years of life, occupational exposures, house dust mites, air pollution, or cockroach droppings are a few of the things that may lead to asthma. An asthma “trigger” is anything that inflames your airways and flares your symptoms—like tobacco smoke, dust, viral infections, cold weather, pet dander, pests (like cockroaches and mice), pollen and mold and strong fumes.
There are many kinds of triggers, and triggers may be different for different people. Pet dander, tobacco smoke, air pollution, pollens, mold, mildew and dust are common triggers. When the lungs become irritated, the airways swell and mucus builds up, causing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness, tiredness or a combination of these symptoms.
What should you do if you think you or a loved one has asthma?
See your health care provider as soon as possible and talk with them about your symptoms.
Reduce exposure to common triggers like dust, mold, and pet hair.
Monitor your or your loved one’s symptoms closely. If their symptoms become severe, see a doctor.