What Is Asthma?

According to the Asthma Society of Canada, asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that causes the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest
  • coughing
  • wheezing

These symptoms:

  • can be mild, moderate or severe
  • can vary from person to person
  • can flare up from time to time and then not appear for long periods
  • can vary from one episode to the next

People with asthma often have trouble breathing when they are around what are called triggers. When someone with asthma has symptoms, it means that air is obstructed (blocked) as it passes in and out of the lungs. This happens because of one or both of the following:

  • The lining of the airways becomes inflamed (irritated, reddened and swollen), and may produce more mucous. The more inflammation, the more sensitive the airway becomes, and the more symptoms.
  • The muscles that surround the airways become sensitive and start to twitch and tighten, causing the airways to narrow. This usually happens if the inflammation is not treated.

Both of these issues cause the airways to get smaller, making it harder for air to pass in and out of them. The airways of someone with asthma are inflamed, to some degree, all the time.

The cause of asthma is not known, and currently there is no cure. However, there are many things you can do to live symptom-free:

Asthma Treatment

Taking Control

How to use Asthma Inhalers

Resources and Support:

Please see your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment of asthma. Within the Greenstone Family Health Team, we have Evelyn Harel a Health Educator who will work with you and consult with your health care provider to help with the education and resources for your lung disease.

For more information about Asthma please refer to these websites:

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