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Asthma affects almost 25 million Americans. It is a chronic disease that causes your airways to become inflamed, making it hard to breathe.
Asthma symptoms can appear when you are exposed to a trigger. A trigger is something you are sensitive to that makes your airways become inflamed. This causes swelling, mucous production and narrowing in your airways. Common asthma triggers are pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, stress and exercise. Common symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness.
Each day, ten Americans die from asthma. Many of these deaths are avoidable with proper treatment and care.
It is important to know the signs of an asthma attack. Seek medical help immediately for:
– Fast breathing with chest retractions (skin sucks in between or around the chest plate and/or rib bones when inhaling)
– Very pale or blue coloring in the face, lips, fingernails
– Rapid movement of nostrils
– Ribs or stomach moving in and out deeply and rapidly
– Expanded chest that does not deflate when you exhale
– Infants with asthma who fail to respond to or recognize parents
There is no cure for asthma. The best way to manage asthma is to avoid triggers, take medications to prevent symptoms and prepare to treat asthma episodes if they occur.
Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases. A chronic disease lasts a long time or occurs often. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.
The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. When someone has allergies, their immune system makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies respond to allergens. The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction.