Asthma - An Overview



Asthma is a disease of the lungs where the airways become inflamed and produce too much mucous. The small muscles around these airways constrict, and this narrows the airways even more, which makes it hard to breathe. Asthma is a chronic condition – this means that it cannot be cured and will require treatment to manage the symptoms.



No specific causes are known for asthma, however there are genetic and environmental factors associated to the development of the disease.


Coughing - Usually a dry cough at night

  • Wheezing - A whistling sound when you breathe out

  • Shortness of breath

  • Tightness of the chest

When symptoms are severe, this is called an asthma flare or an attack. These attacks can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases, you might need to be admitted. This can disrupt your normal life and work, and in some cases can lead to serious consequences.


There are many things that can trigger an asthmatic attack, these include:

  • Pollen

  • Dander from the fur of cats and dogs

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Emotions

  • Viral infection

  • Exercise

  • Weather changes


It is key to avoid the triggers as much as possible. Triggers can be different for different people. Try to identify your own triggers and manage them appropriately.

Symptom Control

With proper management, people living with asthma can enjoy a healthy and happy life. However, if it is poorly managed it can prevent you from doing the things that you would like to do. You could end up finding it difficult to carry out normal activities, such as shopping, cooking, running or fulfilling your requirements at work. In extreme conditions, poorly controlled asthma can lead to complications and can be life-threatening. It is important to continue the use of your medication as prescribed by your doctor and go for your regular check-ups to ensure the best possible outcome.




Article written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window



1.Mims JW. Asthma: definitions and pathophysiology. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015 Sep;5 Suppl 1:S2-6. doi: 10.1002/alr.21609. PMID: 26335832.

2.Papi A, Brightling C, Pedersen SE, Reddel HK. Asthma. Lancet. 2018 Feb 24;391(10122):783-800. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33311-1. Epub 2017 Dec 19. PMID: 29273246.

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