What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways (the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs). Asthma causes recurrent wheezing , chest tightness, shortness of breath, and cough. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts in childhood. In the United States, more than 22 million people are known to have asthma. Inflammation in asthma makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to certain substances that are breathed in. When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This causes the airways to narrow, and less air flows to your lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways may make more mucus than normal. Mucus can further narrow your airways. Sometimes symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with an asthma medicine. At other times, symptoms continue to get worse. When symptoms get more intense and/or additional symptoms appear, this is an asthma attack. It’s important to treat symptoms when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma at-tack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can cause death. Asthma cannot be cured. Even when you feel fine, you still have the dis-ease and it can flare up at any time. With proper treatment, most people who have asthma can expect to have few, if any, symptoms either during the day or at night.

Achieve and maintain control of symptoms

  • To allow for full physical activity
  • To prevent nocturnal awakenings due to asthma
  • Prevent asthma exacerbations
  • Maintain pulmonary function as close to normal levels as possible
  • Avoid adverse effects from asthma medications
  • Prevent irreversible airway obstruction
  • Prevent death from asthma

Use the asthma control test to determine how well controlled your asthma is.

Asthma Triggers

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Allergens (e.g . dust mites, cats & dogs, molds)
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Medications (e.g. Beta-blockers, Aspirin)

Asthma Medications

Relievers – Bronchodilator

  • ProAir HFA®
  • Proventil HFA®
  • Ventolin HFA®
  • ProAir HFA®
  • Xopenex®
  • Maxair®

Controllers – inhaled steroid

  • Flovent®
  • Pulmicort®
  • Asmanex®

Controllers – combination

  • Advair®
  • Symbicort®

Controllers – Leukotriene Antagonist

  • Singulair®
  • Accolate®