Utah Asthma Program
Utah Asthma Program

Asthma Basics

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are hyperresponsive, meaning that the airways react to asthma triggers such as colds, cigarette smoke and exercise faster and more intensely than people whose airways are normal.

What Causes Asthma?

Asthma is a complex disease. Health professionals do not know for certain what causes asthma, but studies have shown that both genetics and the environment can affect your risk of getting asthma.

Your family history can help you and your doctor understand what your risk may be for asthma. It also can help you learn what your triggers may be and medications that may help you control your asthma.

Remember, just because asthma runs in your family, it does not mean you will get asthma. The following research provides more information on asthma and genomics.

  • Asthma and Genetics
  • What happens during an asthma episode?


    • The lining of the airways become inflamed and swell.
    • More mucus is produced, making the opening in the airways smaller.
    • The muscles around the airways tighten, also making the opening in the airways smaller.


    Signs and Symptoms | Top

    Signs and symptoms of asthma vary from person to person. They may also vary for a person depending on which trigger they have been exposed to.

    • Wheezing
    • Coughing
    • Feeling tired
    • Stuffy nose
    • Tight Chest
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Sneezing
    • Sweating

    A person may have some or all of these symptoms at any time. If you are experiencing these symptoms and are unable to breathe, please consult your health care provider immediately.

    Asthma Triggers

    A trigger is any object, act, or event that causes asthma symptoms. The muscles in the airways react to triggers and causes them to tighten and narrow, making it harder to breathe.

    How to Reduce Asthma Triggers

    • Wash pets once a week
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom
    • Do not allow smoking in your home or car
    • Clean damp areas, like bathrooms, often.
    • Remove objects that collect dust from the bedroom