Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes (airways) that causes swelling and narrowing (constriction) of the airways. The bronchial narrowing is usually either totally or at least partially reversible with treatments.
Asthma is now the most common chronic illness in children, affecting 1 in every 15.
Asthma involves only the bronchial tubes and does not affect the air sacs or the lung tissue. The narrowing that occurs in asthma is caused by three major factors; inflammation, bronchospasm, and hyper-reactivity.
Allergy can play a role in some, but not all, asthma patients.
Many factors can precipitate asthma attacks and are they are classified as either allergens or irritants.
Symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and chest tightness.
Asthma is diagnosed based on the presence of wheezing and confirmed with breathing tests.
Chest x-rays are usually normal in asthma patients.
Avoiding precipitating factors is important in the management of asthma.
Medications can be used to reverse or prevent bronchospasm in patients with asthma.