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Asthma

Image of lungs

Asthma is a lung condition that chronically inflames the air passages of the lungs, preventing sufficient air from entering and leaving the lungs. This disrupts breathing and makes those who suffer from it gasp for breath. People who suffer from the condition have sensitive airways that become obstructed or narrowed when they become irritated.

Symptoms

Asthma symptoms can vary from mild wheezing to chronic coughing and wheezing in a severe attack. There are some symptoms to watch for that seem to accompany the condition. These symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness across the chest, and running out of breath during exercise. You may also find that you have difficulty sleeping because of wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms that are severe enough may require the use of bronchodilators to open the air passages by relaxing the muscles surrounding them.

Causes

Asthma may be genetic. Some doctors also believe that the diet may affect whether a person develops this disease, or even if a lack of exercise may play a part. People who work in jobs where they are exposed to respiratory irritants like chemicals, dust, fumes or gases may develop it. The other factor is the living environment, where a person can develop sensitivity to dust, smoke, dust mites, pollen or other environmental factors.

Cautions

Asthma attacks that are left untreated can require hospitalization. If severe enough, it can be fatal. Because this is a very serious condition, it should be properly managed by a health care professional.

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