Asthma is a
long-lasting (chronic) disease of the
respiratory system. It causes
inflammation in tubes that carry air to the lungs
(bronchial tubes). The inflammation makes your bronchial tubes likely to
overreact to certain triggers. An overreaction can lead to decreased lung
function, sudden difficulty breathing, and other symptoms of an
If you avoid triggers, you
Prevent some asthma attacks.
the frequency and severity of some attacks.
You may not be able to avoid or even want to avoid all your
asthma triggers. But you can identify many things that trigger your
Monitoring your lung function (peak expiratory flow). Your lungs will not work as well when you are around a
Being tested for allergies. If you have allergies, the
substances to which you are allergic can trigger symptoms.
Identify possible asthma triggers. A trigger is anything that can lead to an asthma attack. When
you are around something that triggers your symptoms, keep track of it. This
can help you find a pattern in what triggers your symptoms. Record triggers in your
asthma diary(What is a PDF document?) or on your asthma action plan.
Monitor your lung function. A trigger may not always cause symptoms. But it can still
narrow your bronchial tubes, which makes your lungs work harder. To identify
triggers that do not always cause immediate symptoms, measure your peak
expiratory flow (PEF) throughout the day. PEF will drop when your bronchial
tubes narrow, so your PEF will drop when you are near things that trigger
symptoms. Measure your PEF when you are around common irritants such as pollens and smoke to see if they are triggers.
Be tested for allergies. Skin or blood testing may be used to diagnose allergies to
certain substances. Skin testing involves pricking the skin on your back or
arms with one or more small doses of specific allergens. The amount of swelling
and redness at the sites where your skin was pricked is measured to identify
allergens to which you react. If your PEF drops when you are near an allergen,
consider being tested for this allergen.
Share your trigger record with your doctor. After you have found some
things that may trigger your asthma, you and your doctor can
devise a plan for how to deal with them.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.