What is Asthma
Asthma is a long-term, chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. The airways that lead to the lungs are usually relaxed, but asthma causes inflammation and narrowing of these airways, making it hard to breathe.
The exact cause of asthma is unknown, and may vary from person to person; however, it has suggested to be linked to genetic and environmental factors.
Chances of developing asthma are higher if it runs in the family, or if exposed to allergens and/or irritants in the environment (especially during childhood).
When the airways suddenly narrow, and breathing becomes challenging, it’s referred to as an asthma attack. During an asthma attack, the airways become swollen and inflamed, and the muscles around the airway contract.
Some common asthma attack triggers include:
- Certain foods and food additives
Asthma affects everyone differently, and asthma symptoms can also change over time, as well as when asthma is well controlled.
Common symptoms of uncontrolled asthma:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
- Increased mucus production
- Losing sleep due to breathing issues
- Difficulty breathing during exercise
Proper treatment can control asthma symptoms, and their impact on quality of life. Inhalers are a common treatment method, allowing one to breathe the medication directly into their lungs and airways.
When to See a Medical Doctor
While there is currently no cure for asthma, it is a highly treatable disease. If any or all of the symptoms have been experienced, or family members have asthma, it’s a good idea to speak to a medical professional.
Only a medical professional can properly diagnose asthma, and the sooner it’s properly diagnosed, the better. Proper diagnosis helps rule out other potential lung conditions, and can help control asthma symptoms, and improve quality of life.