What Is Asthma? Asthma Myths Debunked

Doctor holding notebook standing next to files.

Asthma Myths

These are some of the many faces of asthma. Most researchers believe that the different patterns of asthma are all related to one condition. Other researchers feel that separate lung conditions exist. There is currently no cure for asthma, and no single exact cause has been identified. Therefore, understanding the changes that occur in asthma, how it makes you feel, and how it can behave over time is vital. This knowledge empowers you to take an active role in your own health care. Test your "asthma IQ" by taking the following true or false quiz:

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 1

Man holding inhaler while having an asthma attack.

1. True or false?
Asthma is "all in the mind."


Asthma is not a psychological condition. However, emotional triggers can cause flare-ups.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 2

Boy using and asthma inhaler.

2. True or false?
You will "grow out” of asthma.


You cannot outgrow asthma. In about 50% of children with asthma, the condition may become inactive in the teenage years. The symptoms, however, may recur at anytime in adulthood.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 3

Boy laying in a hospital bed breathing with an oxygen mask.

3. True or false?
Asthma can be cured, so it is not serious and nobody dies from it.


There is no cure for asthma, but the disease can be controlled in most patients with good medical care. The condition should be taken seriously since uncontrolled asthma may result in emergency hospitalization and possible death.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 4

Mother helping daughter with her asthma inhaler.

4. True or false?
You are likely to develop asthma if someone in your family has it.


You have a 6% chance of having asthma if neither parent has the condition; a 30% chance if one parent has it; and a 70% chance if both parents have it.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 5

Woman wearing mask/filter to avoid catching disease.

5. True or false?
You can "catch" asthma from someone else who has it.


Asthma is not contagious.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 6

Salmon adobe style house in the Arizona desert.

6. True or false?
Moving to a different location, such as the desert, can cure asthma.


A new environment may temporarily improve asthma symptoms, but it will not cure asthma. After a few years in the new location, many persons become sensitized to the new environment, and the asthma symptoms return with the same or even greater intensity than before.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 7

Boy swimming laps in a pool.

7. True or false?
People with asthma should not exercise.


Swimming is an optimal exercise for those with asthma. On the other hand, exercising in dry, cold air may be a trigger for asthma in some people.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 8

Doctor holding asthma inhaler.

8. True or false?
Asthma does not require medical treatment.


Asthma is best controlled by having an asthma management plan designed by your doctor that includes the medications used for quick relief and those used as controllers.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 9

Woman holding asthma inhaler.

9. True or false?
Medications used to treat asthma are habit-forming.


Asthma medications are not addictive.

Asthma Myths Quiz - Question 10

Man pretending to have an asthma attack.

10. True or false?
Someone with asthma can provoke episodes anytime they want in order to get attention.


Asthma attacks cannot be faked.



  1. iStockPhoto / Cat London
  2. MedicineNet
  3. BigStockPhoto / Paula Wolf Borek
  4. MedicineNet
  5. iStockPhoto / Dagmar Heymans
  6. MedicineNet
  7. iStockPhoto / Leah-Anne Thompson
  8. MedicineNet
  9. iStockPhoto / Xavier Gallego
  10. MedicineNet
  11. iStockPhoto / Jeremiah Deasey
  12. MedicineNet
  13. iStockPhoto / Scott Leigh
  14. MedicineNet
  15. BigStockPhoto / Sandra Henderson
  16. MedicineNet
  17. iStockPhoto / dra_schwartz
  18. MedicineNet
  19. BigStockPhoto / Igor Terekhov
  20. MedicineNet
  21. iStockPhoto / Lisa. F. Young


WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information