You Can Control Your Asthma

A doctor administers an asthma inhaler to a young boy.

You can control your asthma! When you control your asthma, you will breathe easier, be as active as you would like, sleep well, stay out of the hospital, and be free from coughing and wheezing. Learn about controlling your asthma at CDC’s asthma site.

Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. One in 13 Americans (about 25 million) lives with asthma, a disease affecting the lungs and causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.

Although asthma cannot be cured, you can control your asthma successfully to reduce and to prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. Successful asthma management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an attack, and working with your doctor to develop your personal Asthma Action Plan. CDC’s National Asthma Control Program has worked to help millions of people with asthma in the United States gain control over their disease since 1999. CCARE, Controlling Childhood Asthma and Reducing Emergencies, is the program’s objective of preventing 500,000 childhood Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalizations due to asthma by August 31, 2024.

Asthma deaths have decreased over time and varied by demographic characteristics. The rate of asthma deaths decreased from 15 per million in 2001 to 12.6 per million in 2020. Deaths due to asthma are thought to be largely preventable, particularly among children and young adults.

Group of mature couples playing tennis

Asthma deaths have decreased over time.

In most cases, we don’t know what causes asthma, and we don’t know how to cure it. Some things may make it more likely for one person to have asthma than another person. If someone in your family has asthma, you are more likely to have it. Regular physical exams that include checking your lungs and checking for allergies can help your healthcare provider make the right diagnosis. Then you and your healthcare provider can make your own asthma action plan so that you can manage your asthma and know what to do based on your own symptoms.

An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to “asthma triggers.” Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone else’s asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you can’t avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu. Using your asthma medicine as prescribed and avoiding common triggers that bring on asthma symptoms will help you control your asthma.

Make sure you are up to date on vaccinations that help protect your health. Respiratory infections like influenza (flu), can be very serious for you, even if your asthma is mild or your symptoms are well-controlled by medication. Respiratory infections can trigger asthma attacks and make your asthma symptoms worse and more likely to lead to other infections like pneumonia. Get the recommended vaccines to help you stay healthier. Learn how to manage your asthma during an emergency.

Remember—you can control your asthma!