Asthma is a chronic disease that blocks the airways and makes breathing difficult. In asthma, the smooth muscles around the airway contract in response to triggers such as allergens, smoke, cold air or exercise, and the production of a sticky secretion called mucus increases, causing the airway to narrow. Asthma attacks in response to various triggers can cause wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

Asthma can affect both children and adults. It can also affect

  • People living in cities with poor air quality
  • Smokers or those exposed to cigarette smoke in their environment (passive smokers)
  • People with allergies
  • People with a family history of asthma or allergic individuals are at risk for asthma.

Although the cause of asthma is unknown, research suggests that asthma develops due to genetic causes, infections, environmental factors and medical conditions. Asthma can vary greatly from patient to patient. Among the triggers of asthma are factors such as the following;

  • Pollen
  • Pets
  • Dust mites
  • Exercise
  • Smoke
  • Extremely hot and extremely cold weather conditions
  • Air pollution
  • Chemical odours or fumes
  • Obesity
  • Stress and mood disorders (such as depression)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Some viral diseases
  • Medicines
  • Sulphites and preservatives in processed food and beverages

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is usually characterised by exacerbations. Although exacerbation periods occur during exercise, allergens or certain chemicals, the following symptoms are observed

  • Wheezing or whistling sound when breathing
  • Cough
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath