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Indiana State Department of Health

Chronic Disease > Asthma Program > For Consumers For Consumers

Asthma Basics

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects over half a million children and adults living in Indiana. Asthma can be controlled but not cured. In a person with asthma, airways can swell and tighten making it hard to breathe. When an asthma attack happens, the inside of the airways swell and fill with mucus. The muscles around the airways tighten. This makes the airways smaller. Some of the most common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing.

People with asthma can help control their symptoms by managing triggers in their environment. Triggers include anything that brings on asthma symptoms, and they differ for each person with asthma. Some triggers include dust mites, cigarette smoke, perfumes and fragrances, mold, pet dander, cockroaches, and stressful or emotional situations.

People with asthma should talk to their doctor about developing an asthma action plan. Asthma action plans help people with asthma to manage their symptoms. Plans include a list of triggers, how to avoid them, information on medications and when they should be taken, and emergency telephone numbers.

Asthma is a serious health condition, but it doesn't have to slow you down! With proper management of triggers and control of symptoms, people with asthma can lead a full, healthy life. Keep reading for more information on managing asthma.

My Asthma Wallet Card

Free wallet size action plan. Provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Breathe Well, Live Well

Breath Well, Live Well is an adult asthma management program designed to help you learn to control your asthma and reduce symptoms so you can enjoy more activities. The program was developed by the American Lung Association. Any adult can participate in this program. A referral is not required. For more information contact the American Lung Association.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The AAFA is offering three new resources for parents, asthma educators, and Head Start staff. The first is Wee BreathersTM. This program is designed to help educate children under the age of seven about the basics of asthma management. The program is available online free of charge. Secondly, the Asthma Management and Education Online program is designed as a resource for asthma educators and Head Start staff wishing to improve their knowledge of asthma management. The program also allows respiratory therapists and nurses a chance to earn seven free continuing education credits. The third resource being offered is the Asthma Basics or Children curriculum. This set of three books is designed to provide asthma educators and Head Start staff content needed for educating staff and parents about asthma management.

Asthma Study Seeking Volunteers

The St. Vincent Asthma Clinical Research Center (ACRC) invites people with asthma to participate in its clinical trials to test new innovative asthma treatments. Dr. Michael Busk is the principal investigator.

The St. Vincent ACRC is a member of the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers that are conducting numerous large clinical trials, which will directly impact patient care and asthma treatment. The ACRC network has secured approximately $21 million in National Institutes of Health funding as well as support from the American Lung Association, industry and foundations.

Most of the studies require clinic visits and include compensation. The St. Vincent ACRC is located at the St. Vincent Health, Wellness and Preventative Care Institute, 8333 Naab Road, Suite 301. For more information, please contact either Kimberly Sundblad, RN, BSN, MPH, CCRC, lead clinical research coordinator, at (317) 338-8032, kjsundbl@stvincent.org; or Debra Weiss, clinical research coordinator, at (317) 338-8030, dweiss@stvincent.org.

For Kids!

Information for Parents