Asthma is considered a chronic lung disease. During an asthma attack, the lining of the airways become swollen and inflamed causing muscle spasms that limit the air flow to and from the lungs. This common disease affects an estimated 16 million Americans, including children.
Common symptoms for asthma include difficulty breathing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and wheezing. Most often these symptoms are more noticeable at night and first thing in the morning, but an asthma attack can occur at anytime of the day and/or night.
While the exact reason for an asthma attack is still unknown, it is said to be a combination of the inflammation of the lung coupled with the narrowing of the lung passages. There are many known contributing factors that can lead to an asthma attack, including:
- Contact with some allergens
- Viral Infection
- Weather conditions
Depending on how severe your asthma is, treatment varies. Generally, treating asthma requires you to avoid the source(s) of your attacks, as well as taking medications such as anti-inflammatory medicines, anti-allergy medicines, or bronchodilators (hand-held inhalers).