It’s a familiar image: Someone has trouble breathing, pulls out an inhaler, shakes it and breathes deep. Chances are you know someone with asthma — or maybe you have it yourself. But what exactly is asthma?
Asthma is a disease affecting the lungs. It’s most common in children, but it affects adults too. It causes breathlessness, wheezing, tightness in the chest and coughing. You’re more likely to have asthma if someone in your family does.
An asthma attack occurs in your body’s airways, the paths that carry air to your lungs. During an attack, the sides of the airways swell, causing the airway passages to shrink, letting less air get in and out of your lungs. Your body’s mucous clogs them up too. This leads to the symptoms of an asthma attack. Attacks can be caused by different triggers for different people. Some of the common triggers include tobacco smoke, dust mites, air pollution, mold and infections.
Luckily, there are treatments for asthma. Quick-relief medicines such as an inhaler control the symptoms of an attack as it’s happening. Long-term control medicines decrease the amount of attacks you have and their severity. If you think you might have asthma, talk to your doctor to set up a treatment plan.
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm