An estimated 17 million people living in the United States have self-reported asthma. Asthma is a chronic (or long-lasting) disease marked by these symptoms:
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- excessive coughing while exercising or following exercise
- nighttime coughing/difficulty breathing
Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children, and if left untreated can result in loss of sleep, exercise limitations, absenteeism, emergency room visits, worsening lung function, and, in a few cases, death.
Some people can categorize the type of asthma they have by their “triggers.” For example:
- Allergic asthma: Asthma symptoms appear when certain allergens are present, like pet dander, mold or pollen.
- Seasonal asthma: Like allergic asthma, seasonal asthma is triggered by allergic reactions, but these allergens are tree, grass and/or weed pollens traveling in the air during their peak seasons.
- Non-allergic asthma: These asthma symptoms occur whenever air irritants are present, such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, fresh paint, or perfume.
- Exercise-induced asthma: Asthma symptoms show up during exercise or physical activity.
- Nocturnal asthma: These asthma symptoms can occur in a patient with any type of asthma, though those symptoms increase or worsen at night.
If asthma is left untreated, it can worsen, and unfortunately it’s not something that will just go away. With a proper diagnosis and a custom treatment plan, asthma can be controlled and its effect on your quality of life kept in check.