Asthma Basics Utah Asthma Task Force Utah Department of Health Asthma Program
What is asthma? • Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. Source: American Lung Association website: www.lungusa.org
What is asthma? • Three things occur simultaneously to make breathing difficult: • Airways in the lungs fill with mucus • Airway lining swells • Muscles around the airways constrict Source: American Lung Association website: www.lungusa.org
What is asthma? • People who have asthma often experience periods of: • Breathlessness • Wheezing • Coughing • Chest tightness • These periods are called attacks or episodes. Source: American Lung Association website:www.lungusa.org
Signs & Symptoms • Retractions • Nasal flaring • Depressed sternal notch • Shoulders stooped • Nausea/ vomiting • Fatigue • Decreased peak flow value
Signs & Symptoms • More Serious: • Shortness of breath • Unwillingness/ inability to speak or lie down • Anxious look • Stooped body posture
Common Asthma Triggers • Exercise • Upper Respiratory Diseases - Colds or the flu • Laughing or crying hard • Stress
Common Asthma Triggers • Allergens • Pollens from trees, plants and grasses • Animals • Dust • Cockroach • Molds
Common Asthma Triggers • Irritants • Cold air • Chemicals/sprays • Weather changes • Tobacco Smoke
Is there a cure for asthma? At this point, asthma cannot be cured, but it can be CONTROLLED, and someone with asthma should be able to live a normal life.
Medications • Controller Medications • Taken on a daily long term basis to reduce swelling and mucus. • Quick Relief “rescue” Medications (i.e. Inhaler) • Taken in emergency cases or when exposed to triggers
Asthma Action Plan Someone with asthma will discuss with their doctor and develop an asthma action plan, detailing the necessary action steps depending on the severity of their disease.
Resources • Utah Department of Health, Asthma Program • www.health.utah.gov/asthma • 801-538-6141
Resources • American Lung Association of Utah www.lungusa.org 801-485-4484 • Open Airways Program • Smoking Cessation Programs