Asthma overview

Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.Asthma most commonly starts in childhood. At least 1 in 10 children, and 1 in 20 adults, have asthma. Asthma runs in some families, but many people with asthma have no other family members influenced.
The basic symptoms are cough and wheeze. Some people have long-term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath. That you may also become breathless, and develop a feeling of chest tightness. Symptoms can range from mild to serious between different people, and at different times in the same person. Each episode of symptoms may last just an hour or so, or persist for days or weeks unless treated.
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. It is not known why the inflammation occurs. The inflammation irritates the muscles around the airways, and causes them to squeeze (constrict). This causes narrowing of the airways. It is then more difficult for air to get in and out of the lungs. This leads to wheezing and breathlessness. The inflammation also causes the lining of the airways to make extra mucus which causes cough and further obstruction to airflow.

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