What is Asthma and What Are its Symptoms?

What is Asthma: A General Explanation

Asthma definition in medical terms is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the airways which is defined by a series of recurring respiratory symptoms. Asthma causes the airways to become swollen and inflamed, narrowing the passages by which air can access the lungs and limiting breathing capacity. This condition can affect people of all ages, but is most common in children and elderly. Even with the current progress of medical science, asthma remains an incurable illness that can however be controlled to a degree of complete prevention of acute symptoms. Asthma definition also includes a very close relation of this disease to various forms of allergy as well as to environmental irritants and air pollution. Because an asthma patient's airway tissues become inflamed and much more sensitive, even the slightest contact with a personal allergen like plant pollen, mold, or mushroom spores can cause a sudden aggravation of symptoms, known commonly as an asthma attack. Having asthma means leading a conscious life with complete awareness of your surroundings for things that may become a trigger for an asthma attack, as well as keeping a quick-acting asthma inhaler close at all times. The only question remaining is - how do you know if you have asthma? Only a professional healthcare provider can help you determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are indeed the signs of asthma and say to what stage the disease has progressed, as well as answer any questions about what is asthma.

How do You Know if You Have Asthma?

Asthma is commonly diagnosed based on the symptoms the patient is having, their frequency, severity, variety and several other factors. This condition usually surfaces on early stages of its progression, meaning you will most likely notice the symptoms of asthma at the start of its development. Asthma symptoms in adults and children are nearly the same, being different only in severity and frequency of certain separate symptoms. The treatment however may differ greatly for individual age groups, involving particular medications and therapy approaches.

Common asthma symptoms in adults include:

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, frequent cases of breathlessness;
  • Tiredness, muscle weakness, especially when exercising;
  • Cough, that may continue for extended periods of time, especially at night;
  • Wheezing - a hissing or whistling sound when you breathe;
  • Feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest;
  • Frequent colds or respiratory tract infections;
  • High sensitivity to airborne allergens and irritants (smoke, dust, cold air, pollen);