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Asthma

Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs. It causes your airways to get inflamed and narrow, and it makes it hard to breathe. Severe asthma can cause trouble talking or being active. You might hear your doctor call it a chronic respiratory disease. Some people refer to asthma as "bronchial asthma."

Causes

No one really knows what causes asthma. What we do know is that asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. The causes can vary from person to person. Still, one thing is consistent: When airways come into contact with a trigger, they become inflamed, narrow, and fill with mucus.

Some known triggers of asthma attacks include:

  • Allergies
  • Food and food additives
  • Exercise
  • Heartburn
  • Smoking
  • Sinusitis
  • Medications
  • Weather
  • Smoke

Symptoms

Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes. People with asthma experience symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus.

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Treatment

  • Rescue inhalers (or quick-relief inhalers)
  • Short-acting beta-agonists
  • Anticholinergics
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Inhaled long-acting beta-agonists
  • Biologics
  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Theophylline
  • Tezepelumab-ekko injection
  • Long-acting bronchodilators
  • Corticosteroids

Should I go to Indigo?

Indigo Health can help you control mild to moderate asthma symptoms, often by prescribing medications. If you are having any of the following symptoms, visit your nearest emergency department:

  • Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
  • Coughing that won't stop
  • Very rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
  • Difficulty talking
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • Worsening symptoms despite use of your medications

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