Asthma Library

What’s Asthma?

Who Gets Asthma?

Prevention and Care

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Asthma Index

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Using an Asthma Inhaler
Using an Asthma Inhaler

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson 1: What is Asthma?

The asthma family: Different types of asthma

Allergic Asthma
About 85 percent of people with asthma have a form that can be considered an "allergic illness." If this is you, this means that once an allergy-causing substance (an allergen) enters your airways through your nose or mouth, a specific antibody within you recognizes it and attacks. During this "battle," chemicals — namely histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins — are released that bring about your asthma symptoms.

Non-allergic asthma
Non-allergic asthma is more common in adults, and means that your asthma symptoms can occur without exposure to an allergen. It results in the same bodily reaction as allergic asthma, but the causes are still unknown.

Exercise-induced asthma
Exercise-induced asthma occurs when your exercise activity causes a "bronchospasm", or contraction of the muscles that line your airways. This reaction generally peaks about 10 minutes after you finish exercising and can last upwards of an hour without prompt treatment. The symptoms are tightness in the chest, gasping, and wheezing. This isn't an excuse to sit at home eating bon bons instead of exercising. It just means that you need to know what to expect and how to treat symptoms if they arise.

All asthma attacks are created equal, right?

Asthma actually has 4 levels of severity and frequency: mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent. The mildest form (mild intermittent) produces symptoms that appear briefly and less than two times per week. The severest form (severe persistent) produces continual symptoms and prolonged "attacks," limits your physical activity and causes your lung function to be below 60 percent of normal.

Assignment #3

Now that you've been introduced to basic facts about asthma, try the Asthma Quiz again. We bet you'll be amazed at how much you have learned.

Assignment #4
Your final assignment is to find an asthma SavvyScholar study buddy! We've created a convenient Online Learning Center for you to accomplish this. You can post messages or chat with other SavvyScholars to make sure you both get the most out of your Asthma 101 education! Click here to go to the Student Union Message Boards.

When you are finished with all these assignments, you are officially finished with Lesson #1. You can now — drumroll, please — move onto lesson #2 where you will learn all about those mysterious asthma triggers.

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