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Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air.

Symptoms of asthma include

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing, especially early in the morning or at night
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Having these symptoms doesn't always mean that you have asthma. Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history, and a physical exam. You may also have allergy tests.

When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it's called an asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Asthma

The following features are indicative of Asthma:
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
It is possible that Asthma shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
References: 1

Common Causes of Asthma

The following are the most common causes of Asthma:
  • tobacco smoke
  • dust mites
  • outdoor air pollution
  • cockroach allergen
  • smoke from burning wood or grass
References: 2, 3

Risk Factors of Asthma

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Asthma:
  • having a parent or sibling with asthma
  • atopic dermatitis
  • being overweight
  • being a smoker
  • exposure to secondhand smoke
  • exposure to fumes
  • exposure to chemicals used in farming and hairdressing

Prevention of Asthma

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Asthma. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia
  • avoid outdoor allergens and irritants
  • monitor your breathing
References: 4

Occurrence of Asthma

Degree of Occurrence

The following are number of Asthma cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Asthma most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Can happen at any age

Common Gender

Asthma most commonly occurs in the following gender:
  • Not gender specific
References: 5, 6

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Asthma

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Asthma:
  • Spirometry: To measure the forced expiratory volume in 1 second
References: 7, 8

Doctor for Diagnosis of Asthma

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Asthma:
  • Allergist

Complications of Asthma if Untreated

Yes, Asthma causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Asthma is left untreated:
  • can be fatal
  • decreased ability to take part in physical activities
  • lack of sleep due to nighttime symptoms
  • permanent changes in the function of the lungs
  • persistent cough
  • trouble breathing
References: 9

Procedures for Treatment of Asthma

The following procedures are used to treat Asthma:
  • Allergy shots: Reduces the immune system reaction to specific allergens
  • Bronchial thermoplasty: Reduces the smooth muscle inside the airways by heating up insides of the airways
References: 10

Self-care for Asthma

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Asthma:
  • Use air conditioner: Reduces the amount of airborne pollens
  • Prevent mold spores: Keep mold spores from developing
  • Keep your home clean
  • Cover the nose and mouth if it's cold out
  • Get regular exercise: Prevents from asthma attacks
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Reduces the worsening asthma
References: 11

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Asthma

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Asthma:
  • Breathing exercises: Improves the asthma symptoms
  • Herbal and natural remedies: Improves asthma symptoms
References: 12

Patient Support for Treatment of Asthma

The following actions may help Asthma patients:
  • Pace yourself: Take breaks between the tasks and avoid activities that make the symptoms worse
  • Talk to others with your condition: Connect with people facing similar challenges
  • Child having asthma: Pay attention on the things your child can do
References: 13

Time for Treatment of Asthma

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Asthma to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks
References: 14

Questions - Asthma

News and Updates

Latest news and updates related to Asthma. Subscribe to get latest posts via email or subscribe to a RSS feed.

Intestinal Microbiome Linked To Pediatric Asthma

Friday, December 15, 2017 -- Interview with: Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, Professor, Dept Pediatrics Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I was motivated to study the maternal … Continue reading →

Breathing Retraining Beneficial in Patients With Asthma

Thursday, December 14, 2017 -- Improvements in patients randomized to DVD and printed booklet intervention, face-to-face sessions

At-Home Breath Training Improves Asthma Quality of Life (CME/CE)

Thursday, December 14, 2017 -- (MedPage Today) -- Self-taught breathing as effective as therapist-delivered training

[Articles] Physiotherapy breathing retraining for asthma: a randomised controlled trial

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 -- Breathing retraining programmes improve quality of life in patients with incompletely controlled asthma despite having little effect on lung function or airway inflammation. Such programmes can be delivered conveniently and cost-effectively as a self-guided digital audiovisual programme, so might also reduce health-care costs.

[Comment] Remote or in-person breathing retraining for uncontrolled asthma symptoms

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 -- Asthma is a broad clinical syndrome and, in most settings, diagnosis is based on a compatible history of paroxysmal dyspnoea. The management of asthma is also predominantly influenced by reported episodes of breathlessness rather than specific objective measurements. Given this lack of precision, it is unsurprising that many people treated for asthma have persisting symptoms. To begin to address this issue, there has been welcome progress toward more personalised and targeted treatment for asthma subtypes.

Demographic Information - Asthma

Following is the demographic information reported by website visitors for Asthma. Information below may include patient demographics as well as data for website visitors who might be researching on behalf of patients e.g. parents for small children. The data below may or may not be reflective of the complete patient population demographics for this medicine/health topic.
User gender
36 out of 44 users are male.
Survey Participants: 44
User age
The most common user is 21-30 years old.
< 219
Survey Participants: 48
User reported disease
Users most commonly suffer from Asthma.
Back pain2
Chronic pain (e.g., arthritis, migraine, fibromyalgia, neuropathy)1
Hepatitis B1
COPD, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema1
Breast cancer1
Survey Participants: 39
User exercise frequency
Users most commonly exercise once a week.
Once a week22
Twice a week6
Five times a week4
Survey Participants: 39
User smoking habit
54 out of 64 users do not smoke.
Do not smoke54
Survey Participants: 64
User alcohol consumption frequency
Users most commonly reported never consuming alcohol
One drink a day1
Two drinks a day2
More than two drinks a day0
Once a week1
Twice a week2
Once a month6
Survey Participants: 41
User body weight
10 out of 43 users report being overweight.
Not overweight33
Survey Participants: 43
User well-being
18 out of 42 users report having significant pain in the last 3 months.
Significant pain in the last 3 months18
No significant pain in the last 3 months24
Survey Participants: 42
User profession
The most common user profession is Student.
Engineer, IT or Software2
Government service2
Survey Participants: 31


  1. MedlinePlus Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Common Asthma Triggers - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  3. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  4. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  5. MedlinePlus Asthma in Children - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  6. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Asthma Facts and Figures - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  7. Wikipedia Asthma Treatment - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  8. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  9. MedlinePlus Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  10. Mayo Clinic Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  11. Mayo Clinic Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  12. Mayo Clinic Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  13. Mayo Clinic Asthma - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  14. NIH How Is Asthma Treated and Controlled? - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  15. Source:

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 12/16/2017.
This page provides information for Asthma in English.