a man standing in his living room. His shadow on the wall is missing its lungs

The Truth About Asthma: What Non-Asthmatics Should Know

When it comes to understanding asthma, the public pushes a big misconception that asthma isn’t a big deal. Shedding light on the harsh realities of asthma can bring awareness and educate those around us on what living with this disease is actually like.

We asked our Facebook community what they wished people understood about asthma. We received more than 300 responses! Here’s what you said:

What do you wish people knew about asthma?

It’s an invisible disease

Asthma can be considered both a visible and an invisible condition. Some asthmatics have silent asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, fatigue, or yawning. Having invisible symptoms of asthma can require urgent medical attention or the immediate use of asthma medications.

"It’s invisible. So many people don’t understand the seriousness of this illness.”

“A real disease even though they can’t see it.”

“An invisible disability that affects where you can live and work.”

It's unpredictable

Asthma attacks and an increase in symptoms can begin unexpectedly. Triggers can be all around us, and they are not always easy to avoid. We can’t control all the allergens around us, so it’s important to have our asthma medications at all times in case we feel an asthma attack coming on. Many members have noticed a sudden change in their asthma symptoms when exposed to unexpected triggers which can be extremely frightening.

“It’s unpredictable, and you never know when it will hit.”

“Never know when I will have issues.”

“It’s not something we can control.”

“A daily frustration between feeling fine one minute, then wheezing and freaking out the next.”

It’s mentally and physically exhausting

Asthma can be very overwhelming and can take both an emotional and physical toll. Having asthma may mean being excluded from certain activities, not being able to participate in gatherings with friends and family, and may isolate us from the rest of the world. These strong emotions may also worsen asthma symptoms, which is why’s it’s important to find a strong support system and try to limit stress-inducing projects. Research has shown that depression and anxiety are more common in people who are living with asthma.1

"It can feed off of my emotions. Triggers are not just environmental, or allergens. But, it can be anxiety, depression, sadness, and especially stress.”

“It’s a terrible, horrible, scary thing. It takes a lot out of you and can get the depression kicking in.”

“It’s deadly, depressing, lonely, and misunderstood.”

”It’s ever-present and always physically draining.”

It's very serious

One of the biggest misconceptions is that asthma is easily controlled. Many asthmatics struggle to control their asthma for many years and may take a matter of trying various medications and identifying triggers. In the United States, 10 people die from an asthma attack every day, and asthma accounts for 9.8 million doctor visits.2 Asthma is also one of the leading causes of hospitalization and may require a lengthy hospital stay.2 This disease can be deadly and needs to be taken seriously.

“It’s more serious than ‘take your inhaler and you’ll be fine.’”

Serious and not something to just blow off. It still kills people. I get so frustrated when I hear people say ‘Oh it’s only asthma.’”

“Not cured by a trip to the doctor.”

What do you wish people knew about asthma?

Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and what they wished people knew about asthma. We appreciate each and every one of you.

We would love to hear what else you wished people understood about asthma. Please share it with us in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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