What is Asthma?
Asthma is a lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs, causing difficulty breathing. The symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), shortness of breath and chest tightness. Asthma can affect any age group from infants to seniors. Many people develop asthma as a child. But adults often get asthma later in life, even in their 50s or 60s.
How can I manage my asthma?
Managing asthma means keeping the symptoms under control, avoiding triggers and taking medications to prevent episodes should they occur. Use your quick-acting medicine as soon as you start to notice symptoms. Asthma may lead to a medical emergency. It is important to know the signs of a severe asthma attack and be prepared to take immediate action or call 9-1-1.
What can you do?
Talk with your doctor about how to better manage your symptoms and what causes them.
- Monitor allergens or things that can aggravate your allergies.
- Know what a healthy weight is for you.
- Know your limits and watch for signs of exhaustion or difficulty breathing when doing physical activity.
- Carry your rescue inhaler at all times.
- Avoid poor air conditions or especially dusty areas.
- Do not smoke and avoid second hand smoke.
- Develop an asthma action plan in case of emergencies.
Discuss your asthma care plan with your provider
Understand what triggers your asthma and ways to avoid or limit your exposure. It is important to partner with your provider to create an asthma care plan. Your care plan needs to take into account your schedule, how active you are, your cultural background, and other medical problems you may have. Schedule regular physicals and take your allergy and asthma medications when you should. Otherwise it’s unlikely that the plan will fit into your life or that you will understand what you need to do. Find more information and resources to help manage your asthma.