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Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes persistent airway inflammation that worsens when triggered by allergens or irritants, making it hard to breathe and causing other symptoms.
Other asthma symptoms, also called an asthma flare and asthma attack, include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and mucus.
There is no cure for asthma, but you can successfully control your symptoms with proven asthma treatment and management. This mainly involves medications that open the airways, and you learning how to avoid your asthma triggers.
To begin, your UCHealth primary care provider will take your complete health history and give you a physical exam to rule out obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions.
Then your provider or an allergist may perform lung function tests, including:
Based on initial test results, you may need additional tests for a proper diagnosis, including:
Your primary care provider will refer you to a UCHealth respiratory specialist as needed.
Based on your diagnosis and symptoms, your provider will classify your asthma to help determine the best treatment for your condition and lifestyle.
Asthma is classified into 4 general categories:
Asthma severity often changes over time, so your provider will adjust your treatment plan as needed.
In addition to the 4 general classifications, some people with asthma fall into other categories that we consider when developing treatment options:
Your primary care provider and/or allergist will develop a customized treatment plan based on your symptoms, age, general health and severity of your asthma.
Your asthma treatment plan will emphasize avoidance—learn your asthma triggers and how to avoid them!—and it will prescribe the right medication for you:
You must take these medicines daily. They include:
These fast-relief medicines quickly relax the muscles around the airways: