What is Asthma?

Asthma is a very common, highly treatable lung condition. Millions of individuals worldwide, children and adults, carry a diagnosis of asthma. Asthma’s symptoms relate to breathing and to the respiratory system. Symptoms of asthma vary in frequency and in intensity and may include cough, wheeze, increased mucus production, uncomfortable breathing, and shortness of breath. Asthma severity not only varies from person to person, but can also fluctuate in a given person over time. A major goal of asthma treatment is directed at symptom prevention as well as at symptom control. Some people with mild asthma experience infrequent symptoms.

Others, whose asthma is more persistent, at the other end of the asthma severity spectrum, may require several daily lung medications taken regularly to control their disease, normalize their lung functioning, and attain a symptom-free state. Physicians who specialize in asthma care firmly believe that even the most severely affected asthma sufferers can be treated successfully. Modern asthma management and contemporary therapies allow persons diagnosed with asthma to lead full, active lives. Successful asthma treatment requires an understanding of the dis-ease in general as well as how it manifests itself in a particular person, combined with attentive medical care and the forging of a cooperative partnership between patient and physician.

Components of Contemporary Asthma Treatment

Medications tailored to asthma severity and degree of control
Environmental control measures
Immunizations (including against influenza)
Identification and treatment of any co-existing medical conditions
Patient, family, and caregiver education
Self-management strategies and guidelines
Regular aerobic exercise
Forging of a true therapeutic alliance between patient and healthcare provider