Using what you know about managing your asthma can give you control over this chronic disease. When you control your asthma, you will breathe easier, be as active as you would like, sleep well, stay out of the hospital, and be free from coughing and wheezing.
Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. One in 13 Americans (more than 24 million) lives with asthma, a disease affecting the lungs and causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.
Although asthma cannot be cured, you can control your asthma successfully to reduce and to prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. Successful asthma management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an attack, and following the advice of your healthcare provider.
Asthma deaths have decreased over time and varied by demographic characteristics. The rate of asthma deaths decreased from 15 per million in 2001 to 10 per million) in 2016. Deaths due to asthma are rare and are thought to be largely preventable, particularly among children and young adults.
In most cases, we don’t know what causes asthma, and we don’t know how to cure it. Some things may make it more likely for one person to have asthma than another person. If someone in your family has asthma, you are more likely to have it. Regular physical exams that include checking your lungs and checking for allergies can help your healthcare provider make the right diagnosis. Then you and your healthcare provider can make your own asthma management plan so that you know what to do based on your own symptoms.
Using your asthma medicine as prescribed and avoiding common triggers that bring on asthma symptoms, such as smoke (including second-hand and third-hand tobacco smoke), household pets, dust mites, and pollen will help you control your asthma.
Make sure you are up to date on vaccinations that help protect your health. Respiratory infections like influenza (flu) can be very serious for you, even if your asthma is mild or your symptoms are well-controlled by medication. Flu can trigger asthma attacks and make your asthma symptoms worse, and is more likely to lead to other infections like pneumonia. Getting the recommended vaccines will help you stay healthier.
The important thing to remember is that you can control your asthma.