This lung condition is defined by swelling and narrowing of the airways, which interferes with the flow of air within the lungs.
Asthma is a lung condition that is defined by swelling and narrowing of the airways, which interferes with the flow of air within the lungs. The exact cause is not always known, but people with a personal or family history of allergies (such as hay fever or eczema) seem to develop asthma more often. (However, there are people with asthma who have no personal or family history of allergies). Asthma attacks are often caused by one or more triggers. Some common triggers include:
Some people have a specific type of asthma. For example:
Asthma is a chronic condition. This means the symptoms can continue throughout a person's life. The symptoms are due to the constriction and inflammation of the airways. They can range from minor and well controlled to severe. Severe symptoms are frequently known as an “asthma attack.” Some of the common symptoms of asthma include:
Emergency symptoms include blue skin or lips, sleepiness or confusion, extreme shortness of breath (especially at rest), fast heart rate, severe anxiety and sweating. These symptoms require immediate treatment by a doctor.
If you have symptoms of asthma, contact your healthcare provider. He or she will take a medical history, do a physical exam and help you avoid your allergy triggers. He or she may also prescribe one of several oral medications (those you swallow), an inhaler and/or a nebulizer to help control and decrease your asthma symptoms. The main goal of the medications is to decrease the inflammation in your lungs and open up the airways.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend some tests to see how well your lungs are working.
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of asthma.
Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you understand your action plan, your treatment plan, any possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).
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