What Body Systems Are Affected by Asthma?

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Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your ability to breathe. Wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing are common asthma symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an asthma attack or episode can affect your respiratory system, immune system and nervous system.

Asthma impacts many different body systems.
Asthma impacts many different body systems.

Attack Triggers

Emotions, tobacco smoke, infections, weather, exercise and a variety of allergens such as pollen and dust mites can cause you to wheeze. You can prevent attacks by understanding your triggers and taking steps to avoid them whenever possible.

Allergies can trigger an attack.
Allergies can trigger an attack.

Respiratory System

The respiratory system of an asthmatic is more sensitive than that of a non-asthmatic to environmental irritants. When in contact with a trigger, the airways narrow and make it difficult to breathe.

Airways narrow during an asthma attack.
Airways narrow during an asthma attack.

Immune System

Your immune system helps your body fight germs. According to the National Institute of Health, asthma can cause your immune system to respond sensitively to substances that would be harmless to those without asthma.

Asthma causes your immune system to respond to substances that would normally be harmless.
Asthma causes your immune system to respond to substances that would normally be harmless.

Nervous System

According to Johns Hopkins University, research indicates that asthma can affect your nervous system. A nerve growth factor--a nervous system protein--has been found to increase sensitivity to irritants among people suffering from asthma and allergies.

Asthma can impact your nervous system.
Asthma can impact your nervous system.

Management

Asthma is an incurable disease. However, it can be properly managed with medications. Quick-relief inhalers can be used to control symptoms. Long-term medications are used to prevent symptoms from occurring. Consult your doctor about the right medicines to help you live a normal, active life with asthma.

Inhalers can help control symptoms.
Inhalers can help control symptoms.

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