What is asthma?

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Asthma is a chronic medical condition that results to breathing difficulties secondary to problems with airways.  The lungs are the main breathing organs but it is through the airways that oxygenated and non-oxygenated air pass through for breathing efficiency.  If the airways are inflamed for example, it can cause recurrent attacks of breathing problems.

Inflammation in the airways causes the narrowing and this will lead to breathing difficulties.  Patients with asthma often complain of tightening in the chest because air does not flow efficiently to and from the lungs.  When there is inflammation, there will also be swelling and redness in the bronchial tubes which lead to increased secretions and further narrowing of the air passageway.  The inflamed bronchial tubes also become highly irritable and sensitive which make it even more difficult for people with asthma to breath properly when exposed to some known allergens. Dust and pollen from flowers for example may cause an allergic reaction to people with asthma and this will stimulate the airways to tighten causing the difficulty in breathing.  People with asthma will feel short of breath when they are having an allergic reaction.  Many of them will also demonstrate a wheezing sound during breathing.

Asthma is classified as a chronic condition and does not have any definite cure. Symptoms may be mild and moderate which can be relieved with no or minimal treatment.  Some symptoms of breathing difficulties will also subside on their own depending on the patient’s condition or the sensitivity to the allergens.  Different medications may be given depending on the severity of attacks. Some patients are given inhalers to decongest their airways during an asthma attack. Stronger medications may also be given through spray inhalers.  Most people with asthma typically lead normal lives and only need medication occasionally.  For recurrent attacks, people with asthma just need to have their medication ready and consult with their doctors regularly to control the symptoms of this chronic medical condition.

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