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Definition of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs. An asthma patient suffers from constriction, inflammation, irritation and swelling of the surrounding airways. When asthma attacks, the muscles around the surrounding airways tighten and gets constricted. Constriction and inflammation causes tightening of the airways of the lungs and that leads a patient to have symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. In severe cases the asthma patient might require to gasp to get adequate air to breathe. Sometime a severe asthma attack can prove to be fatal.

Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans about asthma so that everyone knows what asthma is, how the environment can affect asthma patients and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma has some common symptoms which can be mild to severe. Severe asthma attacks require medical attention. And in some cases asthma patients must be admitted to a hospital for treatment. In asthma the symptoms become quite severe in the early morning or late at night. The symptoms of Asthma can be divided into five segments. These five symptoms are:

  • Wheezing -Wheezing is a very common symptom of Asthma. Wheezing happens when the asthma attack constrict the bronchi and reduces the air flow both in and out of the lungs. Wheezing sounds like a squeak or a whistle when the patient breaths in and out or does both.
  • Chest Tightness -Chest tightness is another symptom where the patient has a squeezing feeling in the chest during respiration while the Asthma attacks. Some patients may feel chest tightness while others may not. The feelings of chest tightness make one feel very heavy in the chest area.
  • Shortness of Breath -Asthma causes the patient to have constricted bronchi. So a very common symptom of Asthma includes shortness of breath. It is a feeling of breathlessness that the patient suffers. The patient feels as if he is unable to catch his breath. Almost every asthma patient has breathlessness.
  • Coughing -Coughing happens due to constriction of bronchi and tightening of the airways around the lungs. This is the most common symptoms of Asthma found in every patient.
  • Rapid Breathing -While a patient feels breathlessness, he may gasp for air and thus will try to breath faster than usual. Thus rapid breathing occurs.

Next Steps:

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Article Last Updated: 08/26/2015