Asthma or “Reactive Airway Disease” is a chronic lung condition that causes narrowing of the airways of the lungs which makes it difficult to breathe.
Unfortunately there is no cure for asthma so controlling the disease is important.
Asthma affects people of all ages. In the United States, more than 25 million people have asthma and about 7 million of those are children.
The airways of a person without asthma allow air to flow freely though the lungs. The airways of a person with asthma are inflamed, narrowed and mucus is produced, even when the person is not having symptoms.
When a person is exposed to a “trigger”, the airways react, they become more inflamed, constrict, and more mucus forms making it very difficult for the person to breathe. Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath develops. This is an asthma attack.
Attacks range from mild to severe symptoms or even death.
Common triggers of an asthma attacks are allergies (allergens), exercise, smoke, or other air irritants like sprays, perfumes and powders. Certain foods such as beer, wine, milk, peanuts, and shrimp can trigger an attack. A mild cold or other respiratory tract infection and heartburn or GERD can bring on an attack.
People with asthma must avoid aspirin or any aspirin containing products because these can trigger a life-threatening attack.
Asthma changes over time so work directly with your doctor to keep it under control and prevent any permanent lung damage.