Asthma Home > What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a recurring health condition that affects your body's ability to move air in and out of your lungs. Triggers are anything that cause irritation to the airways, such as pollen, smoke, or dust. Symptoms of this condition include wheezing and difficulty breathing. Anyone with possible symptoms should see their doctor. The condition can be well controlled with medications.
Asthma is a chronic health condition that affects the airways that move air in and out of your lungs. Normally, these airways are open and clear, allowing oxygen to easily get to your lungs. Individuals with asthma have very sensitive airways that are affected by certain triggers.
A trigger is anything that causes irritation to the airways, such as:
- Cold air
- Dust mites
- Catching a cold.
In a person with asthma, triggers will cause the airway to respond in two ways: swelling and mucus production. When the airways swell up, they become narrow and breathing is difficult. The extra mucus clogs the airways, causing further difficulty with breathing.
Some symptoms of asthma include:
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
- Difficulty breathing
- Mucus production.
When a person has an asthma attack, the symptoms get worse and may also include anxiety (due to the difficulty breathing), use of the neck and chest muscles to breathe, and difficulty speaking.
Warnings signs that an attack is very severe include:
- A bluish color to the skin (called cyanosis).
These warning signs suggest that a person is not getting enough oxygen to the lungs. In this case, seek medical assistance immediately.