What is asthma?
Asthma is a long-term (chronic) lung disease. The airways react to triggers (allergens
and irritants). This makes it hard to breathe. With exposure to triggers, these changes
airways become swollen and inflamed.
muscles around the airways tighten.
- More mucus is made. This leads to mucus plugs.
of these changes make the airways narrow. This makes it hard for air to go out of the
lungs. And fresh oxygen can’t get into the body.
What causes asthma?
Experts don’t know the exact cause of asthma. They believe it is partly inherited. The
environment, infections, and chemicals released by the body also play a role.
Exercise causes symptoms in many people with asthma. Symptoms can occur during
exercise. They can also occur right after exercise. In some people, stress or strong
feelings can cause symptoms.
of these may be asthma triggers:
Who is at risk for asthma?
is most common in:
- Children and teens ages 5 to17
- People living in cities
Other factors include:
- Personal or family history of asthma or allergies
- Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke
- Children with a family history of asthma
- Children who have allergies or atopic dermatitis
- Children exposed to secondhand and tobacco smoke
What are the symptoms of asthma?
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Wheezing or a whistling sound when breathing
- Breathing becomes harder and may hurt
and sleeping may be harder with severe symptoms
How is asthma diagnosed?
healthcare provider will ask about your health history. He or she will give you a
physical exam. You will also have other tests. An important test is spirometry.
spirometer is a device used to find out how well the lungs are working. It measures the
amount and speed of air breathed out.
may have other tests. These are done to check for conditions such as allergies.