Asthma is a lung disease that inflames and narrows airway passages.
Asthma causes wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. The coughing usually occurs in the morning or at night.
Asthma usually starts when you are a child, but can last your entire life. There are more than 25 million people with asthma, 7 million are children.
Airways are tubes that carry oxygen to and from your lungs. People with asthma have inflamed airways. They become swollen when they react to certain substances. When the airway reacts they tighten and narrow. Cells in the airway also produce more mucus than normal, which also narrows the airway.
This chain reaction can make it difficult to breathe.
People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have problems with allergies.
There is no cure for asthma, however there are many medicines to control symptoms of asthma. Avoidance of certain triggers such as cigarette smoke, pets, aspirin or pollen can be effective. If the avoidance is not enough then medicines may be warranted.
Bronchodilators such as Albuterol may give short term relief during an attack. Albuterol opens up air passages. Inhalers such as Advair, Flovent or Atrovent all reduce sensitivity of airways to possible allergens. Medicines such as Singular also reduces mucus productions and sensitivity.
The prognosis of asthma is good. Deaths have decreased significantly over the years. In cases of asthma, it is found that in children half of cases will go away after 10 years. Medicines as mentioned above improve lung function and lessen the severity of the illness.