Asthma: Symptoms and Triggers

Asthma and allergies frequently occur together. To successfully manage your asthma, it is important to determine whether your symptoms are year-round or seasonal, and whether they can be associated with any specific activity, exposure or location.

When the airways in your lungs become inflamed and tighten, asthma occurs. The airways produce mucous which causes blockage and the muscles of the bronchial walls tighten. Symptoms can range from mild wheezing to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe. They include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. A person can experience mild symptoms such as occasional wheezing. This can resolve and a person will then feel normal with no trouble breathing. In contrast, a person may experience wheezing and coughing all the time or have symptoms at certain times of the day or with specific activities. A cold or the flu also may worsen symptoms.

Asthma symptoms can be controlled. It is important to avoid asthma triggers and track your symptoms. Your doctor may put you on short term medications, “rescue” medications, to control symptoms when they begin. You also may be prescribed long- term control medications to prevent recurring flare-ups.

Asthma that is not controlled can cause missed work or school and asthma symptoms may reduce productivity.  Asthma triggers can include:

  • Allergens that are airborne such as animal dander, pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, and molds
  • Air pollutants and irritants such as cigarette smoke
  • Respiratory infections
  • Cold air
  • Stress

Treatment for asthma usually involves avoiding asthma triggers as well as taking asthma medications.  Treatment can vary from one individual to the next. If your allergy symptoms are triggered by airborne allergens, such as pollen or animal dander, you may need allergy treatment. It is important to work closely with your doctors to determine the best course of action for controlling your asthma.

To learn more, click onto the Amercian Academy of Allery, Asthma and Immunology below: