What is Asthma?

It is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterised by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma is a long-term condition and is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

It’s diagnosis is usually based on the pattern of symptoms, and the response to therapy over time. In 2011, 235–300 million people globally have been diagnosed with asthma, and it caused 250,000 deaths.

Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, exercise, cigarette smoke, and viral infections.

What are the symptoms?

  • Wheezing

  • Coughing

  • Tightening in the chest

  • Shortness of breath

A severe onset of asthma, known as an asthma attack can develop slowing. The warning signs of a severe asthma attack are:

  • No relief from an inhaler

  • Being too breathless to talk

  • A racing pulse

How can it be treated?

Asthma is commonly treated with inhalers. It is often necessary to receive hospital treatment following a severe asthma attack.

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