It's estimated that 8.3 percent of Americans suffer from asthma, a lung disease characterized by coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. While there's no cure for the ailment that afflicts 26 million people in the United States, allergists can help put the right measures in place to reduce or stop these symptoms.

“Allergists are specially trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma,” says allergist Todd Mahr, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “But statistics show most people with asthma don’t see an allergist because they don’t know allergists are specialists who can improve their symptoms. Allergists take a detailed history and may do testing to identify your unique triggers and symptoms and create an asthma plan to treat them.” 

Many people think their asthma is under control when it's not, and hospital visits are common for asthma sufferers because they aren’t aware of simple measures that can keep them on track. Ask yourself the following questions to help identify when your asthma isn’t under control:  

  1. Do you have asthma symptoms or use your quick-relief inhaler more than two times a week?

  2. Do you wake up at night with asthma symptoms more than two times a month?

  3. Do you refill your quick-relief medication more than two times per year?

  4. Have you had a life-threatening asthma attack?

  5. Do you have symptoms that are unusual or hard to diagnose?

  6. Do you have hay fever or sinus infections that can complicate asthma?

  7. Have you been admitted to a hospital because of asthma?

While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled. And when asthma is controlled, you can expect improvement in your overall health. Controlling asthma means:

  1. No or fewer asthma symptoms, even at night or after exercise.

  2. Prevention of all or most asthma attacks.

  3. Participation in all activities, including exercise.

  4. No emergency room visits or hospital stays.

  5. Less need for quick-relief medicines.

  6. Minimized side effects from asthma medications.

It’s time to take control of your asthma and start enjoying life again. It’s time to find an allergist. Use the allergist locator on the ACAAI website to find a doctor who can help you manage your symptoms.