Asthma is a chronic, or life long, disease that can be serious—even life threatening. There is no cure for asthma. The good news is that it can be managed so you can live a normal, healthy life. With asthma, the airways are often swollen and red (or inflamed). This makes airways extra sensitive to things that you are exposed to in the environment every day, called asthma "triggers," such as a cold, chemicals, smoke or pet dander. When someone with asthma breathes in a trigger, the insides of the airways make extra mucus and swell even more. This narrows the space for the air to move in and out of the lungs. The muscles that wrap around your airways can also tighten, making breathing even harder. When that happens, it's called an asthma flare-up, asthma episode or asthma "attack."
4 Things You Must Know About Asthma
Increase your asthma knowledge.
The better you understand your asthma diagnosis, the more you can do to stay active and healthy. Learn more »
Know and avoid asthma triggers.
Take some time to identify the things that make breathing difficult for you. Learn some simple ways to limit your exposure to asthma triggers or tips to avoid them all together. Learn more »
Manage asthma daily.
Common asthma symptoms can include a cough, tight feeling in your chest, wheezing, and activity limitation. Learn the six steps to keep your asthma in control, such as: keeping track of your symptoms; avoiding your asthma triggers; understanding your medicines; and, using an asthma action plan that includes key information on asthma symptoms, guidance on the medicines to take when symptoms appear, and what to do when breathing becomes more difficult. Learn more »
Gather your support network.
Keeping your asthma well controlled may require the support of others. Taking care of your health and your lungs can help you manage your asthma and feel the best you can. Ask your doctor about pulmonary rehabilitation to help build up your strength. Avoid lung irritants like smoke, pollution or hazardous chemicals. Avoid crowds and make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations. Learn more »
Featured Asthma Resources
- What is Asthma?
- Asthma Action Plan
- Asthma in Schools: The Basics for Parents
- Your Child’s Asthma: A Parent’s Guide to Better Breathing
- American Lung Association's Guide to Controlling Asthma at Work
- Asthma Basics
For more information about asthma, visit Lung.org/asthma.