What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs.  It is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and the percentage of Florida adults with asthma is on the rise.  Asthma causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.  In most cases we do not know what causes asthma, and we do not know how to cure it.  We do know that asthma tends to run in families. The following informational webpage provided by the American Lung Association provides an overview of asthma, including symptoms and triggers: ALA-Fighting for Air: What is Asthma? 

Asthma can be controlled and episodes can be avoided by knowing the warning signs of an episode, staying away from things that trigger an episode, and following the advice of a doctor or other medical professional. You Can Control Your Asthma:  A Guide to Understanding Asthma and its Triggers provides additional detail about what causes an asthma attack and common asthma triggers, including:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dust mites
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Cockroach allergens
  • Pets
  • Mold

 

When asthma is controlled, an individual:

  • Will not have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing
  • Will sleep better
  • Will not miss work or school
  • Can take part in all physical activities
  • Will not have to go to the hospital or emergency department

More information about asthma can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.