What is Asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. Indoor and outdoor air pollutants, stress, changes in temperature, colds and other infections, and exercise can trigger asthma attacks.

Asthma is a chronic disease, like diabetes and high blood pressure. This means that once you develop asthma, you are likely to have it for a lifetime. Even when you are feeling just fine, the asthma is still there and can flare up at any time. A chronic condition like asthma requires daily attention.

Keeping Your Asthma Under Control

By working closely with your doctor or other health care provider, you should be able to learn how to control your asthma. And once it is controlled, you should be able to live a normal active life. When asthma is under control, you should have few, if any, asthma symptoms. That means:

  • No need to take time off from school or work due to asthma.
  • No limits on your physical activities.
  • No emergency department visits or hospital stays.