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Is it asthma?

(HealthScout.com) -- The mall might seem like an unlikely place to have your asthma diagnosed, but throughout May doctors from the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology will be visiting shopping centers, schools and churches to screen people for the disease, reports this article from CNN.

Asthma causes the air passages in the lungs to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. It affects more than 17 million Americans. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and night waking, according to the article.

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, which is why the widespread screenings are being planned. The asthma group's doctors will give individuals a 20-question test designed to assess if their breathing problems affect the quality of their lives. They will also administer breathing tests that measure lung capacity.

"The impact of asthma in this country is tremendous, and who we're targeting are people who have breathing problems and don't recognize that they might have asthma," said Dr. John Winder, chairman of the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology offers these suggestions on minimizing your asthma triggers and on how to treat the disease with medications.

(c) 2001 HealthScout.com

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