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Monday, January 13, 2014

What is asthma

Your question:  What is asthma?

My answer:  Asthma is a disease of chronic (it's always there) inflammation in the air passages of your lungs. This makes your lungs hyper sensitive, or over reactive, to certain substances, such as cockroach urine, dust mites, animal dander, molds, fungus, strong smells, smoke, etc. These would be your asthma triggers. When exposed to your triggers this may irritate this inflammation, thus making it worse. The result causes an acute asthma attack. During an asthma attack the muscles lining the air passages spasm and this causes the air passages to become narrow. This results in airway obstruction, whereby air gets trapped in the lungs and can't get out. The inflamed air passages also produce excessive secretions, and this can exacerbate the problem. The end result is wheezing as air passes through the obstruction, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. An acute asthma (it's happening now) attack can be treated with asthma rescue medicine like albuterol and levalbuterol, and steroids. An acute asthma attack can be prevented by taking asthma controller medicines that control the chronic inflammation, thus making your lungs less responsive to your asthma triggers. The best way of treating acute asthma, and controlling chronic asthma, is by working with your asthma physician.

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