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Asthma is a lung disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways that can make breathing difficult and trigger symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Although asthma cannot be cured, its symptoms can be controlled.

Asthma: Symptoms

Symptoms vary by patient and may occur often or only occasionally, yet when severe enough can interfere with routine activities. Some people may experience:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing, especially at night or early morning
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing

For some with asthma, pets, pollen and other allergens can worsen symptoms. Flare-ups or asthma attacks may also be caused by cold air, infections such as colds and flu, or tobacco smoke. Exercise-induced asthma happens during physical exercise, especially when the air is cold and dry.

Asthma triggers differ for each person and can change over time. In some cases, asthma can be life threatening if not treated.

Asthma: Diagnosis

Your physician will want information on your medical history and your symptoms and may order a lung function test, such as spirometry, to measure how quickly you move air in and out of your lungs. An X-ray and blood tests may also be ordered. If you have a history of allergies, you may also be checked to determine if allergens are increasing your symptoms.

Asthma: Treatment

Our team of physicians, respiratory therapists and clinical pharmacists will provide you with an individualized plan to meet your needs and provide you with the best possible outcomes.

  • Treatment will focus on using the least amount of medication possible to control your symptoms, while also preventing asthma attacks and allowing you to participate in the activities you enjoy.
  • You will learn how to use your medications and how to self-manage and monitor your asthma.
  • For adults with severe, persistent asthma that is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and other medications, UF Health Pulmonology in Jacksonville offers bronchial thermoplasty, a safe, long-lasting, nondrug procedure.

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Clinical Trials: Asthma

UF Health research scientists make medicine better every day. They discover new ways to help people by running clinical trials. When you join a clinical trial, you can get advanced medical care. Sometimes years before it's available everywhere. You can also help make medicine better for everyone else. If you'd like to learn more about clinical trials, visit our clinical trials page. Or click one of the links below:

View all asthma studies

News and Patient Stories: Asthma

More Asthma stories