Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways. It causes wheezing and can make it hard to breathe. Some triggers include exposure to an allergen or irritant, viruses, exercise, emotional stress, and other factors.
Asthma causes the inside walls of the airways, or the bronchial tubes, to become swollen and inflamed.
During an asthma attack, the airways will swell, the muscles around them will tighten, and it becomes difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs.
Around 7.9% of people in the United States had asthma in 2017. There are many types of asthma, and several factors can cause asthma or trigger an acute attack.
This article looks at the types, causes, and triggers of asthma, as well as how a doctor diagnoses it.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a long-term condition affecting the airways. It involves inflammation and narrowing inside the lungs, which restricts air supply.
A person with asthma may experience:
- tightness in the chest
- increased mucus production
An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms become severe. Attacks can begin suddenly and range from mild to life threatening.
In some cases, swelling in the airways can prevent oxygen from reaching the lungs. This means that oxygen cannot enter the bloodstream or reach vital organs. Therefore, people who experience severe symptoms need urgent medical attention.
A doctor can prescribe suitable treatments and advise a person on the best ways to manage their asthma symptoms.