Asthma is a relatively common lung condition that affects people of all ages. Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes someone to develop asthma, but they do have some information about risk factors for it.
Risk factors include a family history of asthma, being male, having eczema, and being exposed to indoor air pollutants, icnluding cigarette smoke, mold, and household cleaning vapors. While some of these factors can’t be controlled, exposure to harmful air pollutants can be managed. This is especially important in childhood.
Asthma is typically treated with medications delievered via inhalers. Some inhalers are rescue inhalers designed to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack quickly. Inhaled corticosteroids can help to prevent future attacks, as can long-acting beta-agonists and leukotriene modifiers. Typically, patients with asthma use a combination of rescue and long-term medications to manage their symptoms.
If you think you may have asthma, your doctor can help you find the right combination of medications and teach you how to reduce your home’s indoor air pollution so you can breathe easier, prevent most future asthma attacks, and quickly manage the asthma attacks you do experience.