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.
Some common signs of asthma include:
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.
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: