Asthma is a lifelong condition that affects your airways, making it hard to breathe. It causes the airways to swell, tighten up and produce too much mucus. Researchers believe a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers cause it. However, the good news is you can control your asthma to live a long, full life.  

Symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:  

  • Coughing, especially at night.  

  • Wheezing.  

  • Shortness of breath.  

  • Chest tightness, pain or pressure.  


Your doctor will diagnose asthma and assess its progression by:  

  • Conducting a thorough physical exam.  

  • Asking questions about your medical history and specific symptoms.  

  • Ordering a lung function test called a spirometry.  


Your asthma is well-controlled if you: 

  • Need your quick-relief inhaler less than three times per week.  

  • Do not wake up with asthma during the night.  

  • Do daily activities including exercise with few to no symptoms. 

6 Steps You Can Take To Keep Your Asthma Under Control

Step 1: Make Your Medical Visit More Productive 

Write down questions or concerns you have to help you ask your doctor the right questions. 


Step 2: Create an Asthma Management Plan 

Learn how to develop a plan with your doctor. It should include key information on managing your asthma. 


Step 3: Assess and Monitor Your Control

Common asthma symptoms can include cough, tight feeling in your chest, wheezing, activity limitation and feeling tired. Keep track of your symptoms to help you stay in control. 


Step 4: Understand Your Medication 

Many medications treat asthma. Each person's asthma is different, and your doctor will work with you to set up a plan just for you. 


Step 5: Reduce Asthma Triggers 

Identify your asthma triggers and learn simple ways to limit your exposure or avoid them altogether. 


Step 6: Learn Asthma Self-Management Skills 

Learn more about asthma, including our asthma basics online course and asthma animation.


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