Resources & Facts for Patients

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Recognizing Symptoms

One in 12 adults in the US has asthma. While most patients believe that their asthma is under control, a whopping 33% of adults miss work or school due to an asthma attack.

Most people think of wheezing and difficulty breathing when they think of asthma. But asthma symptoms aren’t always obvious. Coughing that lasts for days or weeks is often the first sign of asthma.

The most common signs and symptoms of asthma include:

Shortness of Breath- Feeling like you can’t get enough air is a classic symptom of asthma. Most people with asthma do not feel short of breath all the time; struggling to breathe may be a “sometimes” event.

Chest Tightness– Many people with asthma report feeling chest tightness, especially during cold weather or exercise. Chest tightness is often the first sign of an asthma attack.

Wheezing can range from hard-to-notice to hard-to-miss. You might hear wheezing during daily life, or only at certain times, such as when exercising, when sick, or when exposed to certain triggers. Many people wheeze more at night.

A cough that occurs frequently, especially in the absence of cold symptoms, may be a sign of asthma. Someone who coughs often but doesn’t have a runny nose or congestion may have asthma. Coughing at night or during or after exercise can also be a sign of asthma.

You do not have to have all of these symptoms to have asthma. If you have one (or more) of these symptoms on a regular basis, see your health-care provider, who may be a doctor, nurse or physician assistant.

Resources for Patients

*NEW* Shared Decision-Making Tool

The CHEST Foundation and Allergy and Asthma Network, in partnership with the American College of Allergy, Asthma; Immunology (ACAAI), have developed the first iteration of a shared decision-making tool for adults with severe asthma.

When Asthma Isn’t Just Asthma

Severe or difficult to control asthma can be life threatening and requires active self management, monitoring, often a team of experts to treat and manage.

Patient Provider Collaboration is Key 

Open, clear communication with your healthcare provider is key to controlling you asthma symptoms.

Asthma Health Disparities (PDF)

Read about some of the economic and social factors that contribute to asthma prevalence.

Triggers and Lifestyle Changes

Learn more about the triggers that can affect your asthma, and how best to minimize their impact on your life.

Living Well With Asthma

Transform your severe or difficult to control asthma into a manageable condition with the help of our patient education guide, “Living Well With Asthma.”

Talking to Your Health-care Provider (PDF)

You know your body better than anyone. The information you give to your providers will help them develop an asthma treatment and control plan just for you.

Indoor Air Quality (PDF)

Asthma symptoms can be controlled by improving your indoor air quality.

Quick Facts (PDF)

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Interested in learning more about the condition? Check out these quick facts on asthma.

Myths Busted (PDF)

“Children can outgrow asthma.” “People with asthma shouldn’t exercise.” “I need to move to a dry climate to cure my asthma.” Fact or fiction? Find out by reading our busted myths.

Managing Your Asthma (PDF)

Managing asthma gets easier with time and experience. Take action against your asthma with these tools.

Patient’s Fact Sheet (PDF)

Need information that’s fast and easy to keep on hand? Download our Patient’s Fact Sheet as a quick reference to keep track of your systems and help you better manage your health.

Asthma Postcard (PDF)

Help to spread awareness about the importance of managing asthma symptoms by downloading this informational postcard.

To learn more, visit the CHEST Foundation at