Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects 1 out of every 11 children and 1 out of every 12 adults in the United States. Proper diagnosis and good control are essential to managing life with asthma. Patients who visit San Marcos Family Medicine in San Marcos, Texas, can get help managing their asthma and finding and avoiding triggers so that they can enjoy an active lifestyle in spite of their condition.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways in someone’s lungs. This narrowing causes symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Asthma is incurable but manageable. San Marcos Family Medicine provides a number of diagnostic and treatment services for people with asthma.

What causes asthma?

While no one knows the exact cause of asthma, researchers believe that some people have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Respiratory infections, acid reflux, airborne allergen exposure in infancy, and damage to the lungs can also cause the condition.

What researchers do know is that asthma typically has a trigger. Someone can live with asthma virtually symptom-free, only to find themselves struggling to breathe suddenly one day. This is due to the presence of triggers, or environmental factors that trigger asthma symptoms. Common triggers include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dust mites
  • Air pollution
  • Cockroach allergen
  • Pets
  • Mold
  • Smoke

Avoiding triggers can help prevent asthma flare-ups, but it’s not ultimately a cure for asthma.

What treatments are available for asthma?

While there’s no cure for asthma, the disease does have effective treatments to help manage symptoms. The first is long-term control medications. These medications, typically delivered as inhaled medications, focus on reducing airway inflammation and reduce the chances of having an asthma attack. Quick-relief medications, also given as inhaled medications, relieve problems when they flare up and the control medications aren’t sufficient.

Is asthma contagious?

No, a person can’t catch asthma from someone else.

What is an asthma action plan?

Patients who come to San Marcos Family Medicine with asthma will be given an asthma action plan. This plan outlines the medications they’ll use while healthy, having mild illness, or during an asthma emergency. Each asthma action plan will be unique to the patient for which it was created, outlining medications that will help them reach their health goals.

Can someone with asthma be athletic?

Yes. While asthma makes it difficult to breathe when it’s not well controlled, those who control their asthma well can live an active life. Patients who have asthma and are interested in playing sports can talk to the team at San Marcos Family Medicine for information on how to best manage their symptoms to enjoy an active lifestyle. It’s also important for patients with asthma to have an active asthma action plan to handle an asthma emergency.