Asthma and the Environment
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If a person has asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. For some people, asthma symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing. Others have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time.
Asthma attacks have been linked to exercise, respiratory infections and exposure to environmental factors such as allergens, tobacco smoke, and indoor and outdoor air pollution. Asthma attacks can be reduced by taking medication and avoiding exposure to known triggers.
A number of studies have reported associations between air pollution exposures and asthma. For example, researchers have found an association between increased hospital admissions for asthma and particulate matter, an outdoor air pollutant.
This symbol means you are leaving the CDC.gov Web site. For more information, please see CDC's Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.
Copyrighted images: Images on this website which are copyrighted were used with permission of the copyright holder and are not in the public domain. CDC has licensed these images for use in the materials provided on this website, and the materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of copyrighted images requires permission from the copyright holder.
Tracking Hot Topics
- Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction
- EPA's Map of Radon Zones
- 28 Days to a Healthier Heart
- Go Red for Women — How to Prevent Heart Disease
- Heart Health and Air Pollution Toolkit
- What You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease
- Tracking Fellowship Milestone
- View our Tracking Success Stories to learn how Tracking is making a difference across the U.S.