Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways, or the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma causes repeated episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, breathlessness, coughing and trouble breathing. Many things are known to cause asthma or to trigger asthma attacks. Among these are allergens, irritants, weather, exercise and infections.
Of the 20 million people that have asthma in the United States, 9 million are children1. Asthma is the most common chronic pediatric medical condition in the United States.
Asthma is treated with two kinds of medications: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms, and long-term control medications to prevent asthma symptoms. People with asthma are encouraged to avoid triggers that can cause an attack.
Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions
- The American Lung Association has a helpful fact sheet about asthma.
- Kids Health provides a lot of information specifically about asthma and children, including an online video and audio clip that help explain the disease. This information is also available en español.
- March of Dimes strives to help women have full-term pregnancies and is dedicated to researching problems that threaten the overall health and well-being of babies.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about how asthma is diagnosed in very young children on their website.
Advocacy and Social Connections
- To connect with other parents/families who have a child with asthma, contact the Family Support NetworkTM of North Carolina.
- The American Lung Association has worked with a number of asthma experts and organizations to create a National Asthma Public Policy Agenda that identifies policy changes for the fight against asthma (note: the link is to a large PDF document). The American Lung Association is also active on local and state levels to advocate for individuals with asthma.
- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) promotes advocacy for public policies to improve the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies.
- The North Carolina Asthma Program offers advocacy, research, education, and networking around asthma.