Asthma is a common condition that is characterized by breathing challenges, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It can range from a minor ailment to a significant, life-threatening problem that interferes with daily living.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma causes the airways to narrow, swell and produce an excessive amount of mucus. These effects can make breathing difficult and may lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Although asthma cannot be cured, its symptoms can be effectively managed.
It’s not known exactly why some people suffer from asthma and others don’t. However, it’s likely due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Among people diagnosed with asthma, their symptoms are usually triggered by various irritants and substances. The most common triggers include:
- Pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and smoke
- Sulfites and preservatives added to food
- Strenuous exercise and physical activity
- GERD, a condition that causes stomach acids to flow into the throat
- Certain medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxenStress and other strong emotions