Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition where the airway (composed of lungs and bronchial tubes) becomes inflamed and swollen. It often progresses into a long-term condition that prevents and constricts air from passing through the lungs. In many instances, asthma results from an overproduction of mucus in the lungs due to inflammation, infection, or allergic reaction.

If you think you might have asthma, read on to learn about the symptoms, prevention, and treatment.


What are the symptoms of asthma?

Allergic Asthma is the most common form of asthma, and is caused by inhaling allergens. Both allergic, and non-allergic asthma present with many of the same symptoms, but have different causes. Allergic asthma is caused when allergens are inhaled, causing the air passages to become inflamed. Allergic asthma is triggered by factors such as food allergies, pollen, and other allergy irritants. Non allergic asthma can be triggered by factors such as changes in weather, cold air, exercise, and triggers like dust, air pollution, or smoke. This can lead to the coughing and wheezing that is associated with asthma.

The following symptoms are most common:

Short-term
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Dry cough

Long-term
  • Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes
  • Recurrent infections
  • Fatigue with physical tasks
  • Chronic shortness of breath

How is asthma prevented?

There is no cure for asthma. However, it can be controlled by regularly taking prescribed allergy and asthma medication and avoiding triggers, such as:

  • Smoke
  • Irritants and allergens
  • Dust and mold
  • Temperature extremes


How is asthma treated? 

Asthma is treated with prescription medications administered via inhalers, nebulizers, or pills. Some medications help with acute attacks while others are taken daily to control symptoms.

Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:

  • Extreme shortness of breath
  • Trouble speaking
  • Increased chest pain or pressure
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • No relief of symptoms after using inhaler


You can visit any Patient First center from 8 a.m. to 8 pm, any day of the week – no appointment is needed.