In most cases, we don't know what causes asthma, and we don't know how to cure it. We know that if someone in your family has asthma, you are also more likely to have it.
You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an attack, staying away from things that trigger an attack, and following the advice of your doctor or other medical professional. When you control your asthma:
During a checkup, the doctor or other medical professional will ask you questions about whether you cough a lot, especially at night, and whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or during a particular time of year. Doctors will also ask about other symptoms, such as chest tightness, wheezing, and colds that last more than 10 days. They will ask you whether your family members have or have had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems, and they will ask you questions about your home. The doctor will also ask you about missing school or work and about any trouble you may have doing certain activities.
A lung function test, called spirometry (spy-rom-e-tree), is another way to diagnose asthma. A spirometer (spy-rom-e-ter) measures the largest amount of air you can exhale, or breathe out, after taking a very deep breath. The spirometer can measure airflow before and after you use asthma medicine.
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