Not only is having asthma annoying, it's also annoyingly common. Overall, about 8% of adults in the U.S. have the condition, but that number has been rising for the past several years, according to the CDC. And it's more common among women than men. (Ugh.)
So what does it mean to have asthma? At its root, asthma is a chronic lung condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrow. This makes it harder to breathe — especially when you're exhaling — and can cause wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Some people find that specific activities or elements of their environment can trigger the worst of their symptoms, possibly leading to life-threatening asthma attacks.
But it's also so, so much more than that. The condition often sneaks its way into unexpected areas of your life — including your mental health. As it turns out, not being able to breathe can be kind of a drag!
The good news is that, with a little perseverance, the vast majority of patients are able to find a treatment plan that works for them. So if your asthma is taking over your life (or you're just clinging to that rescue inhaler a little too tightly), definitely check in with your doctor to find another solution.
For now, though, read on to see some lesser-known ways asthma can impact your life — and some challenges that you now have permission to blame on the condition.