Asthma affects people of all ages but usually begins in childhood. In the United States more than 22 million people have asthma. Nearly 6 million of these people are children.
General reviewThe airways are tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have inflamed airways. This makes the airways are swollen and very sensitive, and tend to react strongly to certain substances that are inhaled.
When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This makes the narrow and less air reaches the lungs. Swelling may also worsen and narrow the airways even more. The cells of these pathways may produce more mucus than normal. Mucus is a thick, sticky liquid that can further narrow the airways.
This chain reaction can cause symptoms of asthma. Whenever the airways become inflamed symptoms may occur.
Sometimes the symptoms are mild and disappear spontaneously or after minimal treatment with a medicine for asthma. Other times continue to worsen.
When symptoms become more intense or more symptoms, are said to be an asthma attack. Asthma attacks are also called crisis or exacerbations.
It is important to treat the symptoms as they arise. This prevents them from getting worse and cause a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care and can be fatal.
ProspectsAsthma has no cure. Even if you feel well, you still have the disease and may worsen at any time.
However, due to knowledge and treatments we have today, most people with asthma can control the disease. They may have few symptoms or not have them. They can live a normal, active life, and sleep through the night without interruptions caused by asthma.
You can participate actively in control of their asthma. For successful treatment, complete and consistent, form a solid team with your doctor and other health caregivers.