Asthma is a chronic long term condition that can be managed but not cured. Asthma mainly affects the airways of your lungs. It causes the airways to narrow and swell resulting in wheezing and difficulty breathing. During breathing or respiration air enters through nose or mouth to the upper airways at which point it reaches the wind pipe. Wind pipe branches into two large bronchi to reach the lungs.
The lungs are protected by the ribcage which also contains the muscles that control your breathing. In asthma patients the airways are over sensitive and easily get irritated by certain triggers called asthmatic triggers. Most people with asthma are describes as atopic. Atopic refers to an allergic type of reaction experienced by asthma patients to external triggers. External triggers can be house dust mites, pollen, cigarette smoke, animal fur and chest infections.
However for some people the onset of asthma is unpredictable and may be caused by anxiety, stress or laughter. An asthmatic trigger causes the airway walls to swell and the muscles around the airways to contract. The airways narrow and breathing through them produces a whistling sound called wheezing. Mucous is produced from the lining of the airways which clogs up the narrow airways further and causes coughing. This condition makes normal breathing more difficult producing symptoms of asthma that can be mild, moderate or severe and life threatening. In such severe cases hospital treatment is required.
The narrowing of the airways is reversible, if the trigger is removed or if the inflammation is treated medically. Therefore preventive treatment is used and can be managed by the patient themselves. An acute asthma attack required medical intervention, but the type of intervention depends on the type of severity of the attack.