Asthma Medication
Asthma Information
Asthma Resources
Rhinitis & Sinusitis Information


Asthma Information and Medication

What is Asthma?
Types of Asthma
Do you have Asthma?
Who gets Asthma?
What to Expect
Asthma getting Worse?
Asthma Cause
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Asthma
Treatment of Rheumatoid Asthma
Asthma Treatment
Advair Asthma Medication
Spiriva Asthma Medication

General Asthma Information , Asthma Resources and Asthma Medication from Canada Rhinitis & Sinusitis Information

Primary Disease Name: Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases in the United States. If you suffer from asthma, the more you know, the more control you'll feel you have.

The medical definition of asthma is simple, but the condition itself is quite complex.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of your lungs. These airways are also known as bronchial tubes. In the case of asthma, chronic means that it never goes away.

Asthma is one disease that has two main components occurring deep within the airways of your lungs:

  • Inflammation. The airways of the lungs are always inflamed if you have asthma, and become more swollen and irritated when an attack begins. Your healthcare professional may refer to this swelling and irritation as "inflammation." Inflammation can reduce the amount of air that you can take in or breathe out of your lungs. In some cases, the mucus glands in the airways produce excessive, thick mucus, further obstructing the airways.
  • Constriction. The muscles around the airways in the lungs squeeze together or tighten. This tightening is often called "bronchoconstriction," and it can make it hard for you to breathe the air in or out of your lungs.
Inflammation and constriction together cause narrowing of the airways, which can result in wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. In people with asthma, the airways are inflamed even when you're not having symptoms.

Asthma has no set pattern. Its symptoms:
. Can be mild, moderate or severe
. Can vary from person to person
. Can flare up from time to time and then not appear for long periods
. Can vary from one episode to the next

Asthma can be very serious. In the United States alone, it leads to about 5,000 deaths, 2 million emergency department visits, and 500,000 hospitalizations each year. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that, if left untreated or improperly treated, asthma may cause a long-term decline in lung function and lung scarring over time. These factors can make it more difficult to breathe and cause your symptoms to become more persistent and severe.

The cause of asthma is not known, and currently there is no cure. However, there are many things you can do to control it.

Breathing: Normal Airway Versus Asthma Airway

In someone with normal lung function, air is inhaled through the nose and mouth. It passes through the trachea (also called the windpipe) before moving into the bronchi (large airways), which are branching tubes leading away from the trachea. The bronchi branch into smaller and smaller tubes, ending in many small sacs called alveoli. It's in the alveoli that oxygen, which the body needs, is passed to the blood, while carbon dioxide, which the body doesn't, is removed from it.

People with asthma often have trouble breathing when they're in the presence of what are called "triggers." When someone with asthma has an asthma attack, it means that the flow of air is obstructed as it passes in and out of the lungs. This happens because of one or both of the following:
. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed (irritated, reddened and swollen), and may produce more mucous.
. The muscles that surround the airways become sensitive and start to twitch and tighten, causing the airways to narrow.
Both of these factors cause the airways to narrow, making it difficult for air to pass in and out of them.

The airways of someone with asthma are inflamed, to some degree, the more inflammed the more sensitive the airway becomes. This leads to an increase in breathing difficulty.

- Asthma Can Affect Anyone
- Asthma is a chronic condition, meaning it can last a lifetime.
- Anyone can get asthma, although it's usually first diagnosed in young people. - Currently, about three million Canadians have asthma.

Living with Asthma
Most people with asthma live full, active lives. The trick is learning to keep asthma under control. If you have asthma, you can control it:
. By avoiding your asthma triggers
. By taking your medication
. Through education from your healthcare team
. By following an asthma action plan

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