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Asthma

Asthma is:
  • A disease that affects the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs.
  • Airways can become irritated and swollen, causing wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Certain triggers can cause already sensitive airways to tighten and result in an asthma attack.

Asthma is a disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. This is called inflammation. The airways are sensitive and more likely to react strongly to infections, allergens, like pollen in the air, or irritants, like smoke and air pollution.

People who have asthma can experience asthma attacks. An asthma attack is a serious problem with breathing. An asthma attack can occur when you are exposed to things in the environment called asthma triggers.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in New Mexico, with an estimated 150,000 adults and 47,000 children currently having the disease. People with asthma are more likely to miss school or work, report feelings of depression, and experience an overall reduced quality of life. Asthma is also costly, with expenses from routine checkups, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and medications putting a significant burden on families, the health care sector, and the economy. Though it cannot be cured, asthma can be controlled through quality health care, appropriate medications, and good self-management skills. When asthma is controlled, people with the disease have few, if any, symptoms, and can live normal and productive lives. Asthma is frequently diagnosed in childhood. Sometimes asthma symptoms may go dormant for a number of years only to return later in adulthood. Given this complexity, two prevalence measures are helpful in assessing the disease burden: Lifetime prevalence (if an individual has ever been diagnosed as having asthma) and Current prevalence (if the individual reports he or she still has asthma).
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Content updated: Thu, 10 Nov 2016 08:37:23 MST