Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs. It causes your airways to become inflamed and narrowed, and it produces extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.


The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but it’s thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The symptoms can be controlled with a combination of drugs and environmental changes. Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. Asthma that’s under control most of the time can prevent long-term complications and improve the quality of life.

Causes of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs, causing them to become inflamed and narrow. While the exact cause of asthma is not known, it’s believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Here are several factors that could cause or contribute to asthma:

1. Genetics: If one or both parents have asthma, a child is more likely to have it, suggesting a strong genetic component.

2. Exposure to allergens: Certain substances such as dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, or pollen can trigger symptoms in people already predisposed to asthma.

3. Respiratory infections during childhood: Severe respiratory infections during childhood have been associated with the development of asthma.

4. Environmental pollution: Exposure to environmental pollutants such as smoke, chemical fumes, and dust can increase the risk of developing asthma.

5. Occupational triggers: For some people, asthma can be triggered by substances encountered in the workplace, such as chemical fumes, gases, or dust.

6. Physical exercise: In some people, physical exertion can trigger asthma symptoms. This is called exercise-induced asthma.

7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): In some cases, GERD – a chronic digestive disease where acid from the stomach flows back into the esophagus – has been linked to asthma.

It’s important to remember that these factors don’t cause asthma in everyone, but they can trigger symptoms in people already predisposed to the condition. The exact reason why some people develop asthma while others do not is not fully understood and is likely due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and perhaps even microbiome factors.

Risk Factors of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs. Here are some risk factors associated with asthma:

1. Genetic Factors: If your parents or siblings have asthma, you’re more likely to develop it.

2. Environmental Factors:
Allergens: Exposure to allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold can trigger asthma symptoms.
Air Pollution: Exposure to air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, can provoke asthma.
Tobacco Smoke: Secondhand smoke or active smoking can lead to the development of asthma.

3. Respiratory Infections: People who had severe respiratory infections during childhood are more likely to develop asthma.

4. Occupational Asthma: Some people may develop asthma due to exposure to certain chemicals, dust or fumes in the workplace.

5. Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the chance of developing asthma.

6. Gender and Age: In children, boys are more likely to have asthma than girls. However, in adults, women are more likely to have the condition.

7. Certain Health Conditions: Having certain conditions such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can increase the risk of asthma.

8. Preterm Birth: Babies born prematurely or with a low birth weight have a higher risk of developing asthma.

9. Lack of Exercise: A sedentary lifestyle with limited physical activity can also be a risk factor.

It’s worth noting that asthma can be managed with the right medications and by avoiding triggers as much as possible. If you believe you are at risk, it’s essential to speak to a healthcare professional. They can assess your risk and help manage any symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects your lungs and can cause the airways in your lungs to tighten, become swollen, and produce extra mucus. This can result in difficulty breathing and trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Here are the common signs and symptoms of asthma:

1. Shortness of breath: This is a common symptom, especially during physical activities.
2. Chest tightness or pain: Asthma can cause a feeling of tightness or heaviness in your chest.
3. Trouble sleeping: Asthma symptoms can worsen at night and lead to disrupted sleep.
4. Wheezing: This is a squeaking or whistling sound that occurs when you breathe.
5. Coughing: This might be worse at night or early morning, making it hard to sleep.
6. Difficulty talking: Severe asthma can make it harder to speak without pausing for breath.
7. Anxiety or panic: The struggles to catch your breath can lead to feelings of anxiety or panic.
8. Blue lips or fingernails: This more serious symptom indicates insufficient oxygen in your body’s bloodstream.
9. Rapid breathing or fast pulse: These are signs of an acute asthma attack.

Not everyone with asthma will experience all these symptoms and they can vary from person to person. Asthma symptoms might be mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. Other times, symptoms may continue to get worse. If you or someone else is exhibiting signs of a severe asthma attack, such as significantly accelerated breathing, difficulty talking, or blue lips or face, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
It is essential to manage your asthma correctly to prevent severe symptoms or attacks. If you experience frequent or worsening symptoms, it might indicate that your asthma is not well-controlled. You should consult a healthcare provider in these cases.

Diagnosis Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed, or swollen, causing them to become more sensitive to irritants and potentially leading to allergic reactions.

This inflammation can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

1. Shortness of breath
2. Tightness in the chest
3. Wheezing – a whistling sound when you breath
4. Frequent coughing, particularly at night or early in the morning.

These symptoms can further be aggravated by factors such as exposure to allergens, physical activity, cold air, and stress. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and may not always be present.

The cause of asthma isn’t known, but it’s probably due to a combination of environmental factors and genes. People with certain allergies or with a family history of asthma are more likely to develop it.

The diagnosis of asthma typically involves a medical history review, a physical exam, and lung function tests. It’s usually managed with medication, often in the form of inhalers, and lifestyle changes like avoiding triggers. Regular follow-ups might be needed as this condition is often variable and changes over time. However, with appropriate treatment, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.

Treatment of Asthma

Asthma treatment involves managing and controlling symptoms to prevent severe, chronic attacks and minimize the impact on overall quality of life. Treatment includes:

1. Quick-relief medications: These are also known as rescue medications. They’re fast-acting and are used to quickly relax the muscles around your airways and relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. This can be in the form of a short-acting beta agonist like Albuterol.

2. Long-term asthma control medications: These medicines help minimize the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms. They might include inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta agonists, combination inhalers, leukotriene modifiers, theophylline, or biologic therapy drugs.

3. Allergy medications: If your asthma is worsened or triggered by allergies, your doctor may also include allergy medication in your treatment plan or recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots).

4. Asthma action plan: It’s important that you develop a plan with your healthcare provider to guide your self-treatment. This will include understanding how to monitor your symptoms, what medicines to take and when, how to adjust medication based on symptom severity, when to seek emergency care, and how to avoid triggers.

5. Regular check-ups: Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider are integral to managing asthma effectively. Your doctor will adjust your treatment as necessary and monitor for potential side effects of ongoing medications.

6. Lifestyle changes: You can play a key role in managing your asthma by adopting healthy habits like quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, exercising within comfort levels and wearing a mask in extreme weather or polluted environments.

7. Breathing exercises: Certain breathing exercises may help with better lung function and control asthma symptoms.

Remember, everyone’s asthma is different, so treatments will vary from person to person. It’s essential to work closely with a healthcare provider to create an individualized treatment plan.

Please consult with a healthcare professional for the best advice on treating specific cases of asthma. This text is intended to provide a general understanding of the topic and should not replace professional medical advice.

Medications commonly used for Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder that can be managed, but not cured, with various medications. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:

1. Bronchodilators: These medications help to relax the muscles around the airways, expanding the airway diameter and making it easier to breathe.
Short-acting beta agonists (SABAs) like albuterol are often used as quick-relief, or “rescue”, medications to treat acute symptoms.
Long-acting beta agonists (LABAs), such as salmeterol, are used to control moderate to severe asthma and to prevent nighttime symptoms.

2. Inhaled Corticosteroids: Examples include fluticasone, budesonide, and mometasone. These reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, helping to prevent asthma attacks.


3. Combination Inhalers: These contain both a corticosteroid and a LABA, such as fluticasone/salmeterol (Advair) and budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort). They offer the benefits of both medications.

4. Leukotriene Modifiers: These oral medications, like montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate) and zileuton (Zyflo), help to prevent symptoms for up to 24 hours.

5. Theophylline: This is a daily pill that helps keep the airways open by relaxing the muscles around the airways.

6. Anticholinergics: These are bronchodilators used for severe symptoms or before exercise, and they can be short-acting or long-acting.

7. Biologics: These are newer, injectable drugs like omalizumab (Xolair), mepolizumab (Nucala), reslizumab (Cinqair), and benralizumab (Fasenra), used to control severe asthma.

8. Systemic corticosteroids: These are used for severe asthma attacks. Examples include oral prednisone and intravenous corticosteroids.

Remember, the purpose of asthma treatment is both to prevent symptoms and to treat flare-ups once they occur. Medications are often used in combination, and the patient’s specific medication regimen depends on the severity and frequency of their symptoms. These medications should always be taken as directed by a healthcare provider.

Prevention of Asthma

Asthma can’t be completely prevented, but its symptoms can be managed and some triggers can be avoided to reduce the occurrence and severity of attacks. Here’s how:

1. Avoid Triggers: Triggers can include allergens like dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold. Other triggers can be cold air, smoke (including second-hand smoke), certain medications (like aspirin, ibuprofen), stress, and intense physical activities.

2. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle: Eating healthily, maintaining a regular exercise regimen, and avoiding smoking can help in reducing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. Note that while exercise is beneficial, intense physical activity can sometimes trigger an asthma attack, so it’s important to know your limits.

3. Regular Check-ups: Regular visits to doctors or asthma specialists can help you understand your condition better and allow them to monitor your condition and adjust your medication as necessary.

4. Immunizations: Regular immunizations can prevent influenza and pneumonia, which can trigger asthma attacks.

5. Proper Medication: Regular and correct use of prescribed asthma medications, including inhalers, is very important to control the symptoms of asthma.

6. Monitoring: Regular monitoring of lung function and knowing the signs of an impending asthma attack can help in aborting or reducing the severity of attacks.

7. Allergy-proof Your Home: Keeping the living area clean, using allergen-proof beddings, and removing carpeting can help reduce triggers for individuals with asthma.

8. Awareness: Recognize early symptoms of an asthma attack and know what to do when it occurs. Knowledge of first aid in asthma is also necessary.

9. Stress Management: Regular relaxation and stress-management techniques may reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

10. Maintain Healthy Weight: Overweight and obesity can worsen asthma. Maintaining a healthy weight might reduce symptoms.

Again, while these strategies can help manage and reduce the severity of asthma attacks, it’s important to remember that asthma cannot be completely prevented. Regular communication with your healthcare provider to keep your symptoms under control is key.

FAQ’s about Asthma

1. What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that transport air to and from the lungs. No definite cause has been identified for asthma, but it can be triggered by allergens or irritants.

2. What are the symptoms of Asthma?
Common symptoms include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. Not everyone will present all these symptoms, and severity can also vary.

3. Who can be affected by Asthma?
Asthma can affect people of any age, but it usually starts at childhood. People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma.

4. Can Asthma be cured?
Though there is no definitive cure for asthma, the symptoms can be managed with appropriate treatment. It does not prevent people from having a full and active life.

5. What is an Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack or flare-up is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles around the airways.

6. How is Asthma diagnosed?
Doctors typically use a test called spirometry, which measures how much air you can breathe out after taking a deep breath and how fast you can expel the air.

7. Can asthma be prevented?
While the disease itself can’t be prevented, the frequency and severity of attacks can be minimized. This involves learning the triggers and managing the environment to reduce exposure.

8. What are common triggers for an Asthma Attack?
Common triggers include environmental factors like dust mites, pollen, mold, and pet dander. Other triggers can include exercise, cold air, smoke, and certain medications.

9. How is Asthma treated?
Asthma is mainly treated with inhaled medications that help open up the airways and reduce the propensity towards inflammation. Asthma action plans also involve monitoring symptoms and avoiding triggers.

10. Is it safe to exercise if I have Asthma?
Yes, physical activity is important for overall health and well-being. Asthmatics can exercise safely with appropriate management and precautions. Specific types of exercise like swimming, walking, and yoga may be particularly beneficial.

Always remember that if you have asthma, you should work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your symptoms and reduce risk.

Useful links

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, making it hard for you to breathe. It is characterized by recurrent episodes of shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. The actual cause of asthma is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The diagnosis of asthma includes a detailed history of symptoms and physical examination, and confirmation usually requires lung function tests. The treatments are aimed at reducing the inflammation and constriction of the airways, thereby relieving the symptoms and preventing asthma attacks.

Here are several useful links to asthma research articles and journals:


Remember to always consult a healthcare professional when it comes to understanding and treating health conditions like asthma.

Complications of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs that can cause several complications if not managed properly. Here are some of those complications:

1. Decreased ability to exercise: Severe asthma can make it harder to stay active, which can impact your overall quality of life. You may experience shortness of breath or fatigue even during mild physical activity.

2. Sleep problems: Frequent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath can interfere with sleep.

3. Work and school absenteeism: Asthma flare-ups can result in missing work or school, leading to lower productivity and potential issues with job security or educational progress.

4. Permanent narrowing of bronchial tubes: In some people, asthma causes permanent damage to bronchi (airway) tubes, leading to long-term shortness of breath.

5. Side-effects from long-term use of certain medications: Some medications used to stabilize severe asthma can lead to side effects like oral thrush, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc.

6. Hospitalizations: Severe asthma attacks may require hospital treatment or emergency care.

7. Status Asthmaticus: This is a severe and persistent asthma attack that can lead to respiratory failure. It’s a life-threatening situation and requires immediate medical attention.

8. Psychological effects: Living with a chronic disease like asthma can cause anxiety, depression, self-image issues and social isolation.

9. Airway remodeling: Frequent, untreated asthma symptoms can lead to more permanent changes in the lung architecture (“airway remodeling”), which can decrease responsiveness to asthma treatment.

10. Respiratory failure: In extreme cases, severe asthma attacks can lead to respiratory failure, which can be life-threatening.

Remember, effective asthma management can help reduce the risk for these complications. Always consult with your healthcare provider for proper treatment and action plans.

Home remedies of Asthma

While a person with asthma should always seek advice from a healthcare professional and have a predetermined action plan in place, there are a few home remedies that are thought to potentially provide some relief during minor asthma flare-ups. However, these remedies are not intended to replace medical treatment. These are some of the common ones:

1. Ginger: It’s believed to reduce inflammation and may help with asthma. You can add ginger to your diet directly or as a supplement.

2. Mustard Oil: In case of severe asthma attacks, massaging with warm mustard oil can help clear the respiratory passages and restore normal breathing.

3. Coffee: The caffeine in regular coffee can help control asthma attacks as it acts as a bronchodilator.

4. Eucalyptus Oil: Inhaling eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve asthma symptoms. Put a few drops in boiling water or a diffuser and inhale the steam.

5. Figs: Eating soaked figs can help drain phlegm and improve respiratory health, thus helping with the symptoms of asthma.

6. Honey: Inhaling the aroma of honey is believed to help improve breathing and relieve symptoms.

7. Onions: Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, onions can help reduce airway constriction when dealing with asthma.

8. Breathing exercises: Certain exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, nasal breathing, and the pursed lip method can also ease symptoms.

Remember, these are home remedies and may not work for everyone. It’s crucial to seek professional medical advice and prescription medications for asthma.

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Last Update: January 6, 2024