Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases in the United States, with about 1 in 13 people being diagnosed with the condition (AAFA, 2022). Asthma affects people of all ages, and is the leading cause of chronic disease in children (CDC, 2022). Asthma is a condition where the airways in the lungs become inflamed, swollen, and there is an increase in mucous production. This results in the narrowing of the airways which makes it difficult to get air in and out of the lungs.
Common symptoms with asthma include trouble breathing, shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, or tightness in the chest. The severity of asthma varies from person to person, as does the treatment course. Asthma symptoms can vary and can change quickly based on the current situation. Triggers that result in a change in asthma symptoms can be as simple as animal dander, dust, mold, pollen, food, physical activity, cold or hot air, elements in the environment like smoke, or viral infections. It is very important for people who live with asthma to know what their triggers or exacerbating factors are.
If you have asthma it is very important to pay close attention to how you are feeling day to day. Asthma is a variable disease when it comes to symptoms and presentation. Common symptoms of worsening of asthma may be one or more of the following: shortness of breath or the inability to catch your breath, wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness. Other signs to look for are an increase in the use of their rescue inhaler or increased awakenings at nighttime due to cough or shortness of breath.
Much like high blood pressure or diabetes, asthma can be easily treated and managed with ongoing monitoring and health maintenance. Maintaining appropriate medical treatment for your asthma and avoiding known triggers can help you lead a normal and improved quality of life. If you have asthma, symptoms related to it, or other breathing problems, feel free to schedule an appointment at the Prairie Lakes Pulmonology Clinic at 605-882-7777.
Haley Ellis, CNP - Pulmonology Svien Senne, DO - Pulmonology