Breathlessness, wheezing, and dry cough are the most common symptoms of asthma, which affects more than 14 million Americans. But with the proper care, asthma sufferers can control the serious lung disease.
Although there is no known cause for asthma, Texas Tech Medical Center's Dr. Fiona Prabhu says there are ways asthma patients can reduce their risk of an attack.
"It's more environmental exposures that if you had a potential to develop asthma then that seems to accelerate its potential. So, you develop asthma because of the chronic exposure, so air pollution, increased amounts of smog, seems to make it flare up more, dust mites, allergens like pollens and molds seem to set it off and make it worse," she explains.
Respiratory infections, as well as some anti-inflammatory medications, can cause an attack.
"Take your medications as they are prescribed. If you have any type of asthma that is categorized as persistent whether it be mild, moderate, or severe, that means you should take medicine or inhaler to control it. And that medication usually has a steroid in it to keep inflammation under control," she adds.
Your environment can make your asthma worse. To keep flare-ups from occurring, cover your mattress with a dust-proof cover and eliminate animal dander, cigarette smoke, molds, and pollen from your home.
There are several points to remember about asthma:
Perfumes, cleaners, hair spray, and smoke from fireplaces are also known causes for asthma attacks. It's important to find out what causes your asthma to flare-up, because people react differently to environmental causes.