Asthma is no fun. This condition narrows the airways in your lungs and makes it hard to breathe. Whether you want to go for a run or a bike ride or dance, activity can trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

People of all ages, child through adult, can have asthma. It's not an uncommon condition, and 25 million people live with it. There's no cure for asthma, but there's a lot you can do to manage it and do all the activities you enjoy.

Managing asthma

Asthma is different for everyone. Some people can manage it by staying away from things or activities that can trigger an asthma attack, such as cats, certain plants, foods or certain exercise. For others, asthma can be life-threatening even though they try to avoid their triggers.

It's important to learn what your own asthma triggers are and how to manage them. Seeing your doctor at least once a year is important, too, because asthma can change over time. Keep track of your symptoms and what has helped you (or not) so you know what to talk about with your doctor.

Medications

Sometimes managing your surroundings and activities isn't enough. Many people need medication to control their asthma. Some medications are used for daily maintenance—to help avoid attacks—and others work quickly to help you breathe during an attack.

Your doctor can go over what kinds of drugs would work best for you. Medications can work differently for different people. You might have to try more than one drug, alone or in combination, to see what works best. 

Cost savings

Asthma may have already cost you a lot, so don't let it cost you more money than it has to. Different prescription drugs are often covered at different costs to you under your health insurance plan. Some medications will cost you less and others will have higher out-of-pocket costs. All the covered drugs are well researched. Many have a long track record of working well and being safe. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your options.

Published on March 13, 2015.

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