Asthma is a chronic condition which affects more than 235 million people. Yet, despite the widespread prevalence of asthma, there are a number of myths surrounding this disease. For instance, asthma is not necessarily a life sentence; children have been known to outgrow its symptoms. Also, asthma can affect an individual at any age.

Asthma is an illness which blocks or narrows an individual’s airways. The symptoms of asthma tend to be temporary—in other words, they come and go. Tell-tale signs of asthma include shortness of breath, breathing trouble, and a chronic cough. If the symptoms of asthma become severe, an individual may require emergency treatment.

Asthma is a serious public health concern. It is estimated that asthma is the cause for nearly a half-million hospital stays annually. The treatment of asthma can be costly—some estimates put it as high as billions of dollars each year. It is important to point out that asthma can afflict people of any race, sex, or ethnic group.

While treatment of asthma has become routine in the world, there remain a great many questions about its causes and the best methods of prevention. While asthma is a potentially life-threatening illness, in the majority of cases, treatment can control its symptoms and permit an individual to live a productive life.

Allergic or extrinsic asthma refers to a type of asthma in which the symptoms are triggered by an allergic reaction of some kind. This is the most common type of asthma. Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollens, and mold can cause the passages in the airways of the lungs to experience inflammation and swelling, leading to an episode of asthma.

Non-allergic asthma refers to an asthmatic condition that is triggered by factors not related to allergies. Factors such as cold air, dry air, exercise, hyperventilation, stress, or anxiety can lead to this type of asthma. However, many of the symptoms of non-allergic asthma are the same as those associated with allergy-related asthma.

While it may be difficult to prevent asthma, there are steps a person can take in order to manage his or her treatment. One important thing to do is to minimize contact with asthma triggers. After an asthma episode, ask yourself what kinds of things you’ve been exposed to that might have triggered an asthma episode.

Another important action to take is to take asthma medications as prescribed. It has been estimated that more than half of people who use asthma inhalers do not use them properly. As a result, it’s a good idea to check with a doctor or nurse to make sure that you are using your inhaler correctly to control asthma.

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