Greek meaning of Asthma (ásthma) is gasp;
it is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways
of the lungs (the bronchi) that causes them to become inflamed and
swollen. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and
shortness of breath.
The bronchi are small tubes
that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the
bronchi are more sensitive than normal and certain substances or
triggers can irritate them.
include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, cold
air and chest infections.
When the bronchi are irritated,
they become narrow and the muscles around them tighten, which can
increase the production of sticky mucus, or phlegm. This makes it
difficult to breathe and causes wheezing and coughing, and it may
make your chest feel tight.
The severity of the symptoms
of asthma differs from person to person, from mild to severe. The
narrowing of the airways is usually reversible – occurring
naturally, or through the use of medicines. However, for some people
with chronic (long-lasting) asthma, the inflammation may lead to
an irreversible obstruction of the airways.
A severe onset of symptoms
is known as an asthma attack, or 'acute asthma exacerbation'. Asthma
attacks can be life-threatening and may require hospital treatment.
- 5.4m people in the UK are currently receiving
treatment for asthma.
- 1.1m children
in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
- There is a person with asthma in one in
five households in the UK.
site is intended to help you understand more about asthma and how
it can affect your health. The information here is drawn from a
variety of recognised and renowned medical sources. The information
contained on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified
health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any
questions you may have regarding a medical condition.