KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Studies show 80% of people with asthma also have allergies, so if you better control your allergies, you may be able to avoid asthma.
But scientists are learning allergies are just one cause of this complex disease.
Recently, 10-year-old Jackson Kelly took an important test - a breathing test or spirometry, which reveals how well his lungs are functioning.
Jackson plays football for the Maryville Elite and recently started complaining of shortness of breath and coughing during games.
"I feel really weird and I can't really breathe," Jackson said.
"It's a concern to us, so we wanted to bring him in and have him checked out, make sure it wasn't something serious," said Jackson's father, Jasper.
Turns out, it's not serious, but worth keeping track of.
Jackson has asthma-like symptoms, but because he did so well on his breathing test, staff members at the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center encouraged him to let them know when he has trouble.
Even his allergist Dr. Karthik Krishnan threw a little fun into Jackson's checkup by seeing how he does when just playing around with the football.
Jackson is fortunate.
Dr. Krishnan said others who have full blown asthma often can't get relief from available treatment.
"It's very frustrating because we're using the latest, greatest medicines we have available and they still have problems," said Dr. Krishnan.
That frustration has led researchers to study asthma at the cellular level, finding there are multiple and different causes of the disease.
One of the dilemmas: diagnosing which type of asthma a person has as quickly as possible.
"Once we can do that, that'll really help us out," Dr. Krishnan said.
Dr. Krishnan said within the next few years, look for more than a breathing test, something like a blood test to show the doctor just what kind of asthma a patient is dealing with and tailor the treatment accordingly.