Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in America. Asthma affects an estimated 14.6 million adults and children in the United States. The rate of asthma related deaths is rising with over 5000 deaths reported from asthma every year in the U.S. Last year there were 20 Asthma related deaths in Illinois alone. Even though asthma is a chronic disease that can't be cured, proper medication and management can keep asthma under control. Knowing your personal early warning signs, managing environmental triggers, and monitoring peak flow readings are all ways of keeping your asthma in check. 

What is Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, which may be linked to chromosomal abnormalities. It is caused by inflammation of the lower airways and episodes of airflow obstruction. Airways are sensitive and swollen to some degree all of the time, even when there are no symptoms.

Symptoms of Asthma

The symptoms of asthma vary among people and can include wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness of the chest. Other symptoms can include: trouble controlling a cough; a persistent cough at night; difficulty breathing during, or soon after physical exertion or exercise; or waking up at night because of one or more of these symptoms. Episodes of asthma symptoms (also called asthma attacks, flare-ups, or exacerbations) occur when airways narrow, making it difficult - sometimes impossible - to breathe.

What causes asthma symptoms and attacks

People with asthma have inflamed airways that are supersensitive to things that do not bother other people. Although these asthma "triggers" vary from person to person, some of the most common ones include:

  • Allergens, substances that cause allergic reactions which can include dust mites, pollens, molds, pet dander, and cockroaches and their waste.
  • Irritants in the air, including smoke from tobacco, wood fires or charcoal grills, as well as strong fumes or odors like household sprays, paint, gasoline, perfume, and scented soaps.
  • Respiratory infections such as colds, flu, sore throats, and sinus infections. These are the most common asthma triggers in children.
  • Exercise and other activities that make a person breathe harder.
  • Weather; especially dry wind, cold air, and sudden changes.

Once personal triggers are identified, many of them can be controlled through personal and environmental management.


Medications are an important part of controlling asthma. Each person's needs are different, so an individual medication plan is very important. Asthma medications come in many different forms, such as tablets, aerosols, liquids, and powders. Although drug companies sell asthma medicines under many brand names, there are only a few major types of asthma medicines: steroids, bronchodilators, and adrenaline.  

    • Steroids are a group of anti-inflammatory drugs. They help reduce or stop inflammatory reactions in the airways. Steroids can be extremely helpful in treating severe asthma but when taken by mouth they can have many side effects.
    • Bronchodilators relax and open airways that tighten during an asthma episode. Inhaled bronchodilators are breathed into the lungs and are widely used in treating asthma. Oral bronchodilators are made up in treating asthma. Oral bronchodilators are made up in tablet form and work more slowly than the inhaled drugs.
    • Adrenaline is one of the most powerful drugs for helping to open the airways. Its action is strong but brief and is used to treat severe asthma episodes only.

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601 E 12th Street 
Flora IL 62839
Phone: (618) 662-4406
Fax:     (618) 662-2801


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