Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways (tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. These airways are inflamed in people with asthma. The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and the tubes often react to allergens or irritations.

Asthma symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing–especially early in the morning or at night. In a severe asthma attack, the airways close so much that other vital organs in the body do not get enough oxygen.

Common Asthma Triggers

Many people with asthma have allergies, which can trigger asthma symptoms. Common allergens include house dust mites, animal dander, molds, pollen, and cockroach droppings. Your allergist can identify what you are allergic to and recommend ways to avoid exposure to your triggers.

  • Tobacco smoke is an irritant that often aggravates asthma. Your asthma may also be irritated by air pollution, strong odors, or fumes.
  • Many patients with asthma develop asthma symptoms when exercising. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).
  • Some medications can cause or worsen asthma symptoms. These include aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, or glaucoma.
  • Emotional anxiety and stress may also increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack. Proper rest, diet, and exercise are important for your overall health and help manage asthma.
  • Viral and bacterial infections can cause asthma, such as the common cold and sinusitis.
  • Exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes can bring on an asthma attack.
  • Another asthma trigger can be acid reflux, with or without heartburn.
  • Those with a family history of allergies or asthma are more like to develop asthma. Many with asthma also have allergies called allergic asthma.
  • Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust, or other potentially harmful substances while on the job.
  • Childhood asthma impacts millions of children and their families. The majority of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five.

There is no cure for asthma. But with the proper diagnosis, medication, and an asthma management plan, asthma symptoms can be controlled.


There are two general classes of asthma medications, quick-relief and long-term controller medications. Your allergist may recommend one or a combination of two or more of these medications.

  • Quick-relief medications are used to provide temporary relief of symptoms and, at times, used before exercise. These rescue medicines are bronchodilators, which help to open up the airways so that more air can flow through. Bronchodilators are primarily short-acting beta-agonists administered by an inhaler or a nebulizer machine. Another type of medicine called an anticholinergic might be used at times.
  • Long-term controller medications are important for many people with asthma. They are taken on a daily basis to control airway inflammation and treat symptoms in people who have frequent asthma symptoms.

Asthma Management Plan

The better informed you are about your condition, the better control you will have over your asthma symptoms. To assist, you and your allergist will develop a personalized management plan. This plan includes:

  • Ways to avoid your asthma triggers.
  • Medications to prevent symptoms as well as medications to use for quick relief of flare-ups.
  • An asthma action plan to identify when you are doing well and when you need to seek help.
  • A partnership between you, your family, your allergist, and other healthcare providers.

Together, you and your allergist can work to ensure that asthma interferes with your daily life as little as possible.

Schedule an Appointment

If you think you have asthma, call our clinic today to schedule your appointment.

  • It is an inflammatory disease of the lungs
  • It is a chronic condition in which the lining of the airways or bronchial tubes become inflamed and irritated.
  • There are many triggers, both allergic and non-allergic (infections, exercise, cold air, cigarette smoke, strong odors, reflux to name a few).
  • Early warning signs can include fatigue, irritability, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or tightness in the chest.
  • 70% of asthmatics will have allergic rhinitis
  • It is a well known fact that treating the nasal symptoms will improve the lung symptoms.
  • Treatment of children who have only allergic rhinitis has been shown in scientific research to decrease the incidents of development of asthma later in life in the same individual.

Learn more about asthma symptoms, triggers, testing and treatment.