What You need to Know About Asthma

Key facts

  • Asthma is one of the major non-communicable diseases. It is a chronic disease of the air passages of the lungs which inflames and narrows them.
  • The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimated that there were 339.4 million people worldwide affected by asthma. It is a common disease among children.
  • According to the latest WHO estimates, released in December 2016, there were 383 000 deaths due to asthma in 2015.
  • The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways.
  • Medication can control asthma. Avoiding asthma triggers can also reduce the severity of asthma.
  • Appropriate management of asthma can enable people to enjoy a good quality of life
  • Asthma is a public health problem not just for high-income countries; it occurs in all countries regardless of the level of development. Most asthma-related deaths occur in low- and lower-middle income countries.
  • Asthma is under-diagnosed and under-treated. It creates substantial burden to individuals and families and often restricts individuals’ activities for a lifetime.


To understand asthma, you need to understand a little about what happens when you breathe. Normally, with every breath you take, air goes through your nose and down into your throat, into your airways, eventually making it to your lungs. There are lots of small air passages in your lungs that help deliver oxygen from the air into your bloodstream.
Asthma symptoms occur when the lining of your airways swell and the muscles around them tighten. Mucus then fills the airways, further reducing the amount of air that can pass through. These conditions then bring on an asthma “attack,” the coughing and tightness in your chest that is typical of asthma. Therefore, Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways to the lungs.

Asthma symptoms

Symptoms of asthma include:

  • coughing, especially at night, when laughing, or during exercise
  • wheezing, a squealing or whistling sound made when breathing
  • tightness in the chest
  • shortness of breathe
  • fatigue

The type of asthma that you have can determine which symptoms you experience.
Not everyone with asthma will experience these particular symptoms. If you think the symptoms you’re experiencing could be a sign of a condition such as asthma, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Cause of asthma

No single cause has been identified as its cause. Instead, researchers believe that the breathing condition is caused by a variety of factors. These factors include:

Genetics. If a parent has asthma, you’re more likely to develop it.
History of viral infections. People with a history of viral infections during childhood are more likely to develop the condition.

Hygiene hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that babies aren’t exposed to enough bacteria in their early months and years. Therefore, their immune systems don’t become strong enough to fight off asthma and other conditions.

Early allergen exposure. Frequent contact with possible allergens and irritants may increase your risk for developing asthma.

In order not to bore you with too much information, the second parr of this article will be published tomorrow. Please stay tuned.


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