Asthma impacts the breathing of more than 27 million people in the United States. While there isn't a cure for this long-term respiratory condition, patients can manage it effectively with the right knowledge and treatment, reducing the risk of asthma attacks and improving their quality of life.

During this Asthma Awareness Month, take the opportunity to educate yourself by learning from an expert about the myths and facts surrounding this chronic respiratory disease.

Myth#1 You can outgrow asthma
Fact: The severity of asthma symptoms fluctuates throughout a patient's life.

According to Dr. Priya Bansal, a board-certified Internal Medicine physician, and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Wellness Center, in Charles, Illinois, the symptoms of asthma might get better with or without medications, but that does not mean asthma is cured.

"This past year the term "asthma remission" has been defined where the disease is extremely well controlled there are no symptoms or exacerbations, and the lung function is optimized. This may be achieved with minimal medication or without medication. This may give someone the feeling that their asthma or their child's asthma is cured, but rather it may be very well controlled and may return at another point in their life," Dr. Bansal said.

Myth#2 All asthma patients have the same symptoms
Fact: The symptoms can vary between patients.

The most common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. "However, not all asthmatics wheeze, and not everyone has all of the symptoms at once. With asthma, one may cough, have shortness of breath, and/or chest tightness," Dr. Bansal explained.

For some people, the symptoms may not be present for a long time and may worsen with an allergy (allergy-induced asthma), workplace irritants (occupational asthma), or exercise, particularly when the air is cold and dry.

Myth#3 Asthma patients should not exercise
Fact: Asthma patients can and should lead an active lifestyle.

"I tell my patients that there have been Olympic swimmers with asthma! Exercise improves lung capacity which helps asthmatics. Exercise strengthens lung muscles which strengthens the lungs," Dr. Bansal said.

However, patients should work with their doctor to develop a plan to minimize asthma triggers during exercise and find what works for them.

Myth#4 Asthma medications are habit-forming and lose effect over time
Fact: Asthma medications need not necessarily create dependency or lose efficacy over time. However, overuse of certain medications can be dangerous.

"The development of asthma medications in the past 20 years has completely changed the landscape to now be able to have conversations about asthma remission. Overuse of rescue medications such as albuterol can be dangerous and lead to hospitalizations and ER/Urgent Care visits as they may not work as well if overused. Also, recurrent oral steroid use such as prednisone and methylprednisolone can have long-term harmful effects on our bodies. However, maintenance asthma medications (if needed), that are reassessed every 3-6 months per guidelines, do not create dependency or lose efficacy over time. They optimize asthma and lead to a better, healthier quality of life," Dr. Bansal added.