What is Asthma?

Asthma is a form of lung disease. It is a chronic illness that involves persistent inflammation of the airways. Increased mucus and swelling, due to asthma triggers, make it difficult for the asthma sufferer to breathe. In addition, the muscles wrapped around the airways can also constrict, worsening the situation.

Asthma can be triggered by many things, depending upon the individual’s genetics and environment. For example, some of the primary triggers include allergens (from pollen to pets), chemicals (such as those used in house cleaning), perfumes and air fresheners, weather, dust, stress, and exercise.

Cigarette smoke is something that asthma sufferers should definitely avoid, and that includes exposure to secondhand smoke. Even one brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack, depending on the individual’s sensitivity to it.

Asthma is not something that can be cured, but it can be treated. The importance of proper asthma treatment cannot be emphasized enough as the lack of proper asthma maintenance can lead to eventual scarring in the lungs.

If asthma is allowed to continue to flare up untreated, the scarring of the lung tissue can make asthma harder and harder to treat, eventually leading to the death of the asthma sufferer. A good asthma action plan is thus extremely important, with the asthma sufferer responsible for managing symptoms and following the guidance of his or her physician.

Asthma is a condition that seems to be related to genetics and environmental factors as well. Asthma can develop in childhood and may not last until adulthood. Many sufferers, however, develop asthma later in life. Factors like chronic stress and exposure to irritants can contribute to the development of this chronic disease of the lungs.

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