Mayo Clinic Q&A

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Episodes Asthma management planning can prevent asthma attacks

Asthma management planning can prevent asthma attacks
September 20, 2021

Asthma is a condition where your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult, and trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases in children, but adults can have asthma, too. Symptoms of asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest tightness or pain.
  • Wheezing when exhaling, which is a common sign of asthma in children.
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu.

"People with asthma have an irritable, hyperresponsive airway," says Dr. John Costello, a consultant pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London. "Many asthmatics will tell you that if they laugh, or if there's strong fumes from the back of a car or something like that, that will make them cough much more easily than a normal person."

For some people, asthma is just a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Maintaining good day-to-day asthma control is the key to keeping symptoms at bay and preventing asthma attacks.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Costello discusses how to manage asthma in adults.