Asthma is a lung disease. It can be life threatening.
Asthma is chronic. In other words, you live with it every day.
Asthma causes breathing problems.
These breathing problems are called attacks or episodes of asthma.
Doctors are not exactly certain
how you get asthma. But they do know that once you have it, your lungs react to
things that can start an asthma attack.
For instance, when you have asthma, you might get an asthma attack when you have a cold (or some other kind of respiratory infection). Or, you might get an attack when you breathe something that bothers your lungs (such as cigarette smoke, dust or feathers).
When this happens, three changes take place in your lungs:
Cells in your air tubes make more mucus than normal. This mucus is very thick and sticky. It tends to clog up the tubes.
The air tubes tend to swell, just as skin swells when you get a scrape.
The muscles in your air tubes tighten.
These changes cause the air tubes to narrow. This makes it hard to breathe.
Asthma attacks may start suddenly. Or they may take a long time, even days, to develop. Attacks can be severe, moderate or mild.
It's important to:
Take your asthma seriously.
Take your asthma medicines for asthma.
When asthma symptoms don't improve, get help.