The causes of asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. Still, one thing is consistent with asthma: when airways come into contact with an asthma trigger, the airways become inflamed, narrow, and fill with mucus. This makes airway resistance increase and the work of breathing more difficult, causing shortness of breath, cough, and wheezing.
- Allergies: Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances such as tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cockroach particles.
- Exercise: Strenuous exercise can cause a narrowing of the airways in about 80% of people with asthma.
- Weather: Cold air, changes in temperature, and humidity can cause asthma.
- Air Pollutants: Many irritants, including tobacco smoke, smoke from wood-burning appliances or fireplaces, strong odors from perfumes, cleaning agents, etc., are all irritants that can trigger asthma. Small particles can get into your lungs and irritate your airways making your asthma worse.
- Upper Respiratory Infections: Inflammation causes the mucous membranes in the sinuses to secrete more mucus. When the sinuses get inflamed, the airways respond similarly in many people with asthma, leading to sinusitis with asthma.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Signs that your asthma is probably worsening include:
- Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
- Increasing difficulty breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
- The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often
Our allergists will develop a personalized management plan to help you with your asthma.
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.