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Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways are inflamed resulting in increased sensitivity to triggers.  Triggers are substances that irritate inflamed lung passages and cause the airways to react by becoming more swollen, secreting mucus and constricting.   Reactions to triggers reduce airflow and cause the person with asthma to cough, wheeze, experience chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Triggers may be irritants, allergens or conditions such as strong emotions, stress, and temperature, humidity and exercise.  Some common environmental triggers are second hand smoke, dust mites, animal saliva and dander, cockroaches, fragrances and mold.  Triggers for asthma must be identified individually for each person with asthma.

Asthma, if uncontrolled, can result in reduced quality of life and can also be costly.  Individuals often have activity limitations, sleep deprivation, loss of time at work or school for the individual or the child and parent plus increased healthcare utilization such as unplanned physician visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.  In rare cares, death can occur as a result of asthma exacerbation.  The good news is that asthma can be controlled.

Asthma can be Controlled!

Since the mid 1990’s asthma control has been achievable for most people with asthma.  Control for each person with asthma is individualized and is a combination of medical and environmental management.  When the understanding of asthma as an inflammatory disease was acknowledged two decades ago, inhaled corticosteroids became the standard for asthma treatment. 

This change alone meant that many people with asthma could avoid asthma episodes.  Since then a combination of medications have provided stepped up treatment over and above the steroids alone, so that people with more severe forms of asthma may also be controlled.  Environmental management remains a standard part of the control of asthma for all people.  In most cases, where asthma environmental and medical management is done by the individual with asthma, the disease no longer controls the life of the person but the person controls asthma.  Use this tool to help identify and control your asthma triggers.  

Take the Asthma Control Test now to help you better control your asthma
The American Lung Association recommends everyone 12 years of age or older with asthma take the Asthma Control Test, no matter how well controlled you think your asthma is. Your answers to this five-question quiz will provide you a score that may help you and your health care providers determine if your treatment plan is working or if it may be time for a change. [read more].  A separate version is available for children with asthma at: http://www.asthmacontroltest.com/

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