What is Asthma?


Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the smaller airways. Occasionally the airways narrow (constrict) causing symptoms such as wheezing and breathlessness.1,2 It often starts in childhood, although it affects people of all ages, with some people developing symptoms for the first time during adulthood. Currently, there is no cure available, however there are many treatments that can help keep your symptoms under control and increase your quality of life.1,2


The most common symptoms of asthma are wheezing, cough, occasional breathlessness and developing a feeling of tightness in the chest.1,2 Sometimes children and adults with asthma have times when their breathing becomes more difficult.3 Depending on the severity of your condition, your symptoms can range from mild to severe. Your own symptoms can vary over time and may be different to other people’s symptoms. Each episode of symptoms may last around an hour, or persist for several weeks unless treated. 1,2,3


Currently the exact cause of asthma is unknown.1,4 Some of the suggested causes are genetics, pollution and possibly even modern hygiene standards. Asthma attacks occur when certain triggers cause inflammation in the airways – this causes the muscles around the airways to squeeze, leading to a narrowing of the airways which can also become clogged with mucus.1,2,4

Asthma triggers

Some of the most common triggers include: infections, allergies, medicines, weather conditions, emotions, stress or even laughter.4 Once you understand your triggers, avoiding them may help you control your asthma symptoms.4

1) Patient: Asthma. (accessed January 2023). 2) NHS: Asthma. (accessed January 2023). 3) NHS: Asthma Symptoms. (accessed January 2023). 4) NHS: Asthma Conditions. (accessed January 2023).

Asthma Resources


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