Asthma Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Most people with asthma experience a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing at some point in their life. Asthma is a life-threatening disease, but it can be managed to minimize symptoms so people living with asthma can be active and healthy. Working in partnership with a healthcare provider is key to successfully managing asthma. Together, you can find out the experiences or exposures, called "asthma triggers," that put you at the greatest risk for an asthma flare-up, the steps to take when you experience symptoms, and knowing when to see the doctor or seek immediate help.

Asthma Symptoms

Common asthma symptoms when your asthma is not well-controlled include a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. It's important to recognize these signs and talk to your doctor so you can be symptom-free, active and healthy. Learn more about asthma symptoms.

Asthma Causes

Understanding the experiences or exposures that make your asthma flare-up is a key step to better managing your asthma. Making a plan to avoid or limit your exposure to your asthma triggers can eliminate asthma symptoms and put you on the right track to better control your asthma. These factors play an important role in the development of asthma.

Asthma Risk Factors

A combination of genetics and exposures to certain elements in the environment put people at the greatest risk of developing asthma for the first time. Understand if you are at risk for developing asthma and get tips to protect your lungs.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: October 23, 2020

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