If you frequently experience shortness of breath or you hear a whistling or wheezy sound in your chest when you breathe, you may have asthma—a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, the passageways that allow air to enter and leave the lungs.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Effective treatment of allergic asthma includes identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger symptoms, using drug therapies and developing an emergency action plan for severe attacks.
Who has Asthma and Why?
If you frequently experience shortness of breath or you hear a whistling or wheezing sound in your chest when you breathe, you may have asthma. Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 26 million Americans.
If you experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath at work, you may have occupational asthma. People with this condition usually work around chemical fumes, dust or other irritants in the air.
Exercise Induced Asthma
If you start wheezing or coughing during exercise, or if physical exertion makes it difficult for you to breathe, you may have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB.
Asthma & Other Conditions
Asthma can complicate other medical conditions. Find out how to manage your asthma during illness or pregnancy.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collection of lung diseases that cause breathing problems and airflow obstruction. Included in this group of diseases are refractory (severe) asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
No one with asthma or allergies needs to suffer. An allergist — an expert at diagnosing and treating asthma and allergies — can help you determine if you are at risk for asthma or help you find the cause of allergy symptoms.