Asthma is a long-term lung disease.

It causes your airways to swell and narrow.

This makes breathing difficult. Asthma often begins in childhood, but people of all ages can have asthma.

Causes and Triggers

We don’t know the exact cause of asthma. It may be passed down from your parents. It may be linked to something you are exposed to in your life. Cold air and exercise can trigger asthma. So can emotions such as stress and anxiety. Allergies to pets, pollen and mold can, too. Asthma can be triggered by smoke, some medications and some foods and drinks. And it can be triggered by chest colds or strong heartburn.

Symptoms

Asthma can cause shortness of breath. You may wheeze and cough. Your chest may feel tight and painful. When you suddenly develop these symptoms, this is called an “asthma attack.” A severe asthma attack can be deadly. Find help right away.

Treatment Options

There are a few different types of medications for asthma. Some help keep your asthma under control. Others act quickly to help open your airways during an asthma attack. Avoid things that trigger your asthma. And make sure your allergies are under control.

Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that is right for your needs.