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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic, but common, lung condition that impacts people of all ages. Asthma inflames and narrows the airways. This causes recurrent episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. 

Swollen and inflamed airways make it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. The surrounding muscles can also constrict, causing further breathing difficulties. These events are asthma attacks.

What are the symptoms of Asthma?

Asthma symptoms include:

  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

What triggers Asthma symptoms?

To best manage your condition, it is important to know what can trigger your symptoms to occur. Triggers include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical activity
  • Pollution or smog
  • Allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or danger
  • Odors or fumes
  • Smoke
  • Stress or excitement
  • Cold air or extreme changes in temperature
  • Illness, such as colds and sinus infections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nonselective betablockers

Asthma varies by person. Your triggers may not be the same as a loved one's. Please contact a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns about your condition. 

Evidence indicates asthma runs in families; if a parent has asthma, it’s possible that the child may get it too


Contact with allergens, irritants, or exposure to viral infections in infancy or early childhood when the immune system has not matured has been linked to developing asthma. Additionally, exposure to dust and certain chemicals in the workplace may play a role in adult-onset asthma

Certain allergic conditions are linked to asthma. 

As the lungs develop in infancy and early childhood, certain respiratory infections have been shown to cause inflammation and damage the lung tissue. The damage that occurs can impact lung function long-term.

What causes Asthma?

The exact cause of asthma is unknown. However, there is believe that the cause of asthma is a combination of genetic and environmental factors including:

  • Atopy, or an inherited tendency to develop allergies
  • Parents who have asthma
  • Certain respiratory infections during early childhood
  • Contact with airborne allergens during early childhood

How is Asthma treated?

There is no cure for asthma, however, there are many medications that help manage the condition.There are medications available that provide long term and short term relief. 

Long-Term Control Medicines

Long-term control medicines are used to help prevent and control asthma symptoms. For best results, this type of medication should be used daily. There are several types of long-term control medicines:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids- This type of medication works to prevent and reduce airway swelling and reduces mucus in the lungs. 
  • Inhaled long-acting beta agonists- This type of medication relaxes the smooth muscles around the airways, thus opening their airway making it easier to breathe. These should be used in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid. 
  • Combination inhaled medicines- This type of medication contains and does the work of both an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta agonist. A combination inhaler is a great way to get both of these medications together, if necessary. 
  • Biologics- This type of medication is a shot or infusion given every few weeks. Biologics work by targeting a cell or protein within the body to prevent airway inflammation.
  • Leukotriene modifiers- This type of medication is taken in liquid or pill form to reduce swelling inside of the airway and to relax smooth muscles.
  • Cromolyn sodium-  This medication is an inhaled non-steroid. It prevents airways from swelling when they come into contact with an asthma trigger.
  • Theophylline- This medication come is taken in tablet, capsule, solution and syrup form to help open the airways by relaxing the smooth muscles. 
  • Oral corticosteroids- This type of medication is taken in pill or liquid form.  It is used to treat asthma attacks that do not respond to other medication or as long-term therapy for people with severe asthma.

Quick-Relief Medicines

  • Quick-relief medicines are used to help relieve asthma symptoms when they happen. These medicines act quickly to relax tight muscles around the airways. This allows the airways to open up so air can flow through them. There are several types of quick-relief medicines:
  • Short-acting beta agonists- This type of medication is inhaled and works quickly to relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing the smooth muscles around the airways. These medicines are the first choice for quick relief of asthma symptoms.
  • Anticholinergics- This type of medication is inhaled but acts slower than short-acting beta agonist medicines. Anticholinergics open the airways by relaxing the smooth muscles around the airways and reduce mucus production.
  • Combination quick-relief medicines- This type of medication comes as an inhaler or for a nebulizer and contains both an anticholinergic and a short-acting beta agonist. 


How does Noble help me manage my Asthma?

At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your symptoms. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program, which includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, benefits and co-pay assistance and more. For more information on what Asthma medications we offer, please view the asthma enrollment form.

For more information about Asthma, contact one the resources listed below:



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