To take control of your asthma, you must learn self-management skills. Proper self-management skills begin with a basic understanding of how asthma affects your airways. Asthma self-management also includes understanding and learning how to use your medications, understanding how to use your asthma action plan and following good health habits. Before proceeding, view the video "What is Asthma?"
As you've seen in the video, asthma affects your airways by causing:
- Swelling in the airways
- Constriction of muscles lining the airways
- Increased mucus production that clogs the airways
Asthma can make it hard for you to breathe when your airways are swollen. Your airways swell because of triggers in the environment around you, including stress. (We talk about triggers in upcoming modules). Some of the symptoms you may feel when the triggers cause swelling in your airways include unusual shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. It's important to know that asthma is a chronic condition and it doesn't disappear when you are feeling better.