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Asthma is a chronic condition that affects your airways. Healthy airways in the lungs stay open and clear, allowing you to breathe easily, but people with asthma experience a strong immune response to certain triggers that causes the airways to swell and tighten, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma triggers include pollen, smoke, strong odors, medication, exercise and stress.

Asthma Symptoms

Some common signs of asthma include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Recognizing asthma can be tricky because its symptoms can be the same as those of other illnesses. However, people with asthma might notice patterns. For example, symptoms may come and go throughout the day or get worse at night or in the morning. Symptoms may show up during or after physical activity or after being exposed to an allergen or cold air.

Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you have and any patterns you notice. He or she can conduct tests and a physical exam to see whether you have asthma.

Treating Asthma

There are two parts to treating asthma. First, your doctor will identify what causes your asthma attacks. This helps you understand how to avoid triggering asthma attacks. For example, you may need to avoid certain allergens or pollutants or manage stress better. Next, your doctor may prescribe one of these medications to help alleviate ongoing symptoms:

  • Medications for short-term relief: These work best if you have mild asthma and need quick relief from the occasional asthma attack. These medications can reduce inflammation that makes it hard to breathe or relax tight muscles in the airways, allowing air to pass through.
  • Medications for long-term control: Control medicines are taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring. These medications can reduce inflammation and prevent narrowing of the arteries.

Contact Us for More Information

If you have asthma, MultiCare Pulmonary Specialists can help you manage the condition. Find a pulmonologist or contact the clinic near you to learn more.