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Understanding Asthma Attacks

For those with asthma, an asthma attack can be overwhelming and frightening. The best way to control your asthma is by understanding the warning signs, avoiding triggers and following your doctor’s treatment plans.

What is an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack is any shortness of breath that interrupts the well-being and requires medication or intervention to regain normal breathing. During an asthma attack, your airways become swollen or inflamed, the muscles around the airways contract and cause the bronchial tubes to narrow. The attack may be mild, and only require rest to overcome, or in more severe cases, can be life-threatening if prompt treatment is not sought.

How is an Asthma Attack Treated?

Not everyone with asthma takes the same medication. Medication comes in two general types- quick relief and long-term control. Asthma attacks are treated by quick relief medications, most commonly in the form of an inhaler. An inhaler is a small device that provides a puff of medication that is inhaled into the lungs during an attack. The medication helps to open the bronchial tubes and quickly enable less restricted airflow to the lungs. If you find that you need to rely on your inhaler more often, you should speak with your provider to discuss long-term options to help reduce the number of attacks you experience.

Ramie Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT

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