WHAT IS ASTHMA?

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the air passages This inflammation narrows the airways to your lungs. This reduces the amount of oxygen that makes it into your lungs and makes breathing difficult. It is commonly referred to as bronchial asthma.

Like other allergies, there is a strong familial heredity link for asthma.

Asthma causes 3 events in your lungs and breathing passages.

Airway obstruction

Your body has bands of muscle that surround your windpipe. When you breathe normally, these muscles are relaxed. You breathe easily, and the air moves in an out of your lungs freely.

If you suffer from asthma, your breathing experience is very different. You may be allergic to substances in the air and your immediate environment. Exposure to these substances may trigger a response in the bands of muscle surrounding your airway. These bands tighten and contract around your windpipe, and the air you breathe no longer moves freely in and out of your lungs. Because your airway is squeezed smaller, you will take in less air with each breath, and you probably will experience a whistling type of sound called wheezing. Often, you will also feel short of breath.

Inflammation

If you could look inside an asthmatic’s lungs, you would see that the bronchial tubes are red and swollen. This is called inflammation. This inflammation often causes your lungs to step up mucus production. However, the mucus your body produces is thicker than normal increasing your breathing difficulties. Reducing this inflammation through medical treatment is very important. Research suggests this inflammation plays a role in the damage asthma causes in your lungs over time.

Airway irritability

Asthma sufferers are very sensitive to substances in their environment like animal dander, fumes, pollen and dust. Their sensitivity to these substances will cause an overreaction, and their airway contracts and narrows when they encounter even the smallest traces of the trigger substance.

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