Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system that involves inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or airways, which carry air to the lungs. The airways overreact to substances that cause allergic reactions(allergens) and to smoke, cold air, or other environmental factors. This overreaction causes the airways to narrow, leading to difficulty breathing (asthma episodes). Allergens cause long-term (chronic) inflammation and can cause asthma episodes. Smoke, cold air, and other environmental factors also can cause asthma episodes, but they do not cause inflammation.
Asthma often develops in childhood or the teen years. It is the most common chronic childhood disease. The number of cases of asthma has grown steadily in the past 30 years, making it one of the leading public health problems in the United States and the rest of the world. Deaths from asthma more than doubled in the U.S. between 1977 and 1989. However, the death rate has not increased in the U.S. in the past decade.
Most cases of asthma cam be controlled. In severe cases, asthma episodes can be fatal.
Symptoms of asthma vary widely from person to person and within each person over time. Asthma episodes, or attacks, can range from mild to severe.
SYMPTOMS of asthma may include
SYMPTOMS of asthma may develop or worsen when you
The GOALS of treatment are to decrease the severity, frequency, and duration of asthma episodes and to treat episodes as they occur. Recognizing and treating asthma symptoms early may prevent severe symptoms that might require an emergency room visit or admission to the hospital. After you have been diagnosed with asthma, you will work with a health professional to find the combination of medications and trigger avoidance that will control your symptoms.
BECAUSE ASTHMA DEVELOPS from a complex interaction of genetics, environmental factors, and the reaction of the immune system, no one treatment will be effective for everyone. However, every asthma treatment plan includes.