When pollen, smoke, dust, or other triggers come in contact with the sensitive lining of the airways, it causes inflammation and swelling, which can lead to an asthma attack. Symptoms include a tight feeling in the chest, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. This condition cannot be cured, but it can often be successfully managed with medication and by avoiding the things that cause an asthma attack.
Although the condition affects people of all ages, it often starts in childhood and is more common in children than adults.
(Click Asthma for more information on this chronic condition, including how many cases are diagnosed annually.)