Student Health Services
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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. In the U.S., asthma affects 14 to 15 million people. Asthma, also known as reactive airway disease, is defined as a chronic lung disease with:
- Inflammation of the airways
- Increased sensitivity of the airways to a variety of triggers that can cause narrowing of the airways
- Varying levels of obstructed airflow, which lead to breathing difficulty
Asthma triggers include: allergy, exercise, viral respiratory tract infection, nocturnal asthma, sinusitis, emotions, gastroesophageal reflux, sensitivity to aspirin, food additives, hormonal changes, irritants, occupational exposure to chemicals.
The symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
The goal of medical treatment is to:
- Prevent acute episodes of asthma.
- Normalize breathing tests and lessen hyperreactivity of airways.
- Use medications that are easy to administer, affordable and have a low risk of side effects.
Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. You should expect nothing less.
- You are experiencing a persistent cough lasting more than a week.
- You are experiencing wheezing.
- You are experiencing shortness of breath.
- You are experiencing chest tightness.