What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma may cause the inside walls of the airways to get inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to allergens and irritants. When the airways react, they get narrower, and less air flows through lung tissue. This causes symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing), coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially at night and in the early morning.
Asthma cannot be cured, but most people with asthma can control it and live active lives.
When asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it is called an asthma episode or attack. During an asthma attack, the airways narrow causing less air to flow through. These changes make it harder to breathe. An asthma attack can range from mild to severe.
If you (or your child) have asthma, you should see a health care provider regularly. Your doctor can prescribe medicines to manage your asthma.