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Asthma: Causes & Treatments

Asthma is a condition that can occur at any age. While the underlying cause is largely unknown, it does have a tendency to run in families. The allergy and immunology team at SSM Health is here to help you know what to look for and plan the best course of treatment for your allergy relief.

Asthma occurs in several different ways. When the airways are inflamed the tissues swell and produce a thick mucus. Frequent, severe inflammation causes permanent thickening of the tissues that line the airways.

Asthma may also flare up when the muscles around the airways tighten. Inflamed airways often become overly sensitive to certain irritants and react by constricting and becoming more inflamed.

If any of these events occur you may experience:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sensation of chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

What Activates Asthma Symptoms?

Inflammation, mucus production and airway narrowing can start due to a variety of reasons:

  • Viral infections
  • Allergies
  • Emotional upsets
  • Chemical irritants such as smoking or smoke exposure
  • Change in temperature or humidity
  • Exercise
  • Fatigue

Treating Your Asthma

Your asthma management plan will be developed by you and your doctor but will likely include medication and avoiding those things that bother your airways.

Maintenance medications work to prevent asthma episodes and must be taken daily to ensure its effectiveness. Quick-relief medications are also an option when you’re experiencing unexpected symptoms or to prevent symptoms prior to exposure to an aggravator.

Severe Asthma

If your asthma worsens, further monitoring may be necessary. Look for any of the following:

  • Daytime symptoms occur more than two times per week
  • Waking up in the middle of the night or early morning with symptoms more than twice a month
  • Use of your quick-relief medication more than two times per week

Asthma relief is possible. Schedule an appointment today with an SSM Health allergy and immunology specialist.

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