Are you one of the millions of Americans with asthma? Then you know what happens when airways in your lungs become blocked or narrowed. It is hard to breathe. The chest feels tight. There is the coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and rapid breathing.
Yet with proper care, people with asthma can live healthy and active lives.
What causes asthma? It is most commonly caused by allergies, but the triggers vary from person to person. You breathe in things you are allergic to and an attack follows. These could be things like dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold. Another type of asthma is not from allergies. It is caused by things like anxiety, stress, exercise, cold air, dry air, smoke, viruses or other things.
What Happens During an Attack?
The airways to the lungs are fully open when you are breathing normally. Air moves in and out freely. But asthma swells the airways. Here is what happens in an attack:
- The lining of the airways swell and become inflamed
- Mucous clogs the airways
- Muscles tighten around the airways (bronchospasm)
Breathing becomes difficult and stressful. It is like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.
Remove the Asthma Triggers.
There are many things you can do to control your asthma. You may want to work with your PCP to develop an Asthma Action Plan. Each case is different. But there is one general rule. Remove the triggers in your surroundings that make your asthma worse. You may need to try a medication if that does not work.
What Medicines Can Help?
There are different types of medications that can help. Many people need more than one type of medication. See your PCP today and ask which treatment is right for you.