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Having asthma means your airways (the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs) are inflamed. Inflammation makes the airways more sensitive and likely to narrow when they become irritated. This narrowing can cause coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing (dyspnea).

There are several different types of asthma:

  • Allergen-triggered asthma
  • Exercise-induced asthma
  • Cough-variant asthma
  • Occupational asthma

Asthma: what you should know

  • Asthma is a chronic disease for which no cure exists. But with proper treatment, most people have few, if any, symptoms.
  • Most people with asthma also have allergies. Specialists at Rush can help you deal with these related problems at the same time.
  • You can develop asthma at any age, but it usually starts during childhood. Some children with childhood asthma outgrow their symptoms, but most do not.

How can I get help for asthma?

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms of asthma and it does not go away:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Chest tightness

Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have asthma. Other conditions have similar symptoms.

Experts at Rush can draw on their experience to find the root of your problem. 

Care for asthma at Rush

If you or your child has been diagnosed with asthma, doctors at Rush will help you create an asthma action plan (a list of triggers, daily medications and instructions for what to do during an attack).

Your plan will depend on the type and severity of your asthma. It might involve one or more of the following medications:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids, the most common treatment for long-term control of asthma
  • Other long-term control medications
  • Quick relief medications, such as short-acting beta2-agonists, which you can use to relieve asthma attacks as they happen

Why choose Rush for asthma care

  • Allergies, sinus problems, acid reflux and stress can make asthma symptoms worse. Rush has a center where doctors work with children and adults to deal with all of these related problems at the same time.
  • A nurse coordinator can work with you to create a plan for the school nurse or teachers to follow when your child has asthma symptoms.
  • Doctors at Rush are also researchers looking for new ways to treat asthma in people unresponsive to standard therapy. Through clinical trials, they can offer some patients options that might not be widely available.
  • At Rush, you can take advantage of a free asthma management class run each month by the Respiratory Health Association. Clinicians at Rush also offer one-on-one asthma education.

Departments and programs that treat this condition