Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Does asthma go away?

Q. I was diagnosed with asthma five years ago, and my doctor prescribed an inhaler to use daily. I haven't had any symptoms for a year now, even though I stopped using my inhaler. Can asthma go away?

A. Asthma can go away, although this happens more often when asthma starts in childhood than when it starts in adulthood. When asthma goes away, sometimes that's because it wasn't there in the first place.

Asthma can be surprisingly hard to diagnose. The three main symptoms are wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. However, not all people with asthma have all three symptoms. And a number of other diseases — chronic obstructive lung disease, heart failure, pulmonary sarcoidosis (an inflammatory condition), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — can cause each of the symptoms.

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