Who Gets Asthma?

Asthma effects people of all ages and races. In the US asthma affects:

  • Both men and women
  • Almost 15 million Americans
  • 5 million under age 18 years old
  • More African-Americans and Hispanics than Whites

How Does Asthma Develop?

  • The cause of asthma is unknown
  • You are more likely to develop asthma if you are related to someone with allergies or asthma
  • If you have a history of eczema or allergies

What Happens to People with Asthma?

  • With treatment, most people can live normal lives
  • Asthma that is not well controlled can cause many problems
  • People miss school and work, go to the hospital and some even die if asthma is not cared for
  • The symptoms that people experience can change as they age and grow

Symptoms to Look for

You may have all of these symptoms, some of these symptoms, or just one.

  • Dry coughing
  • Wheezing (a whistling noise when you breath out)
  • Chest tightness or hurting (the feeling that someone is squeezing or sitting on your chest)
  • Shortness of breath

What Causes an Asthma Attack?

  • Asthma can flare–up when exposed to triggers.
  • Changes in the weather
  • Smoke
  • Allergies
  • Tiredness
  • Illnesses—upper respiratory infections—colds or flu
  • Certain medications or foods
  • Exercise—running or playing hard—especially in cold weather
  • Laughing or crying hard
  • Stress
  • Environmental exposure—dust, dustmites, molds, trees, grass, pollen, animal dander, cockroaches
  • Strong odors—perfumes, cleaning products
  • Certain Foods

How Can I Reduce Asthma Symptoms?

  • Take medicines as directed
  • Remove or keep away from smoke and avoid triggers
  • Eat right, exercise and get enough rest
  • See your doctor at least every three to six months
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