Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs and more specifically, of the
, that has episodic exacerbations or flares. Asthma is a disease that only seems to affect
the patient at irregular intervals.
Bronchial tubes are the airways that bring oxygen to the
lungs. For reasons which are not entirely clear, patients with asthma have very sensitive
bronchial tubes and respond to a variety of different stimuli; these include allergens such as
grass, trees, and ragweed pollen, as well as dander from cats, dogs, and other animals. In
addition, nonspecific stimuli can affect the bronchial tubes of patients with asthma. These
include weather changes, pollution, exercise, and cold air. Emotions and the manifestations of
emotions, such as laughing and crying, can also precipitate cough and wheezing. An asthma
attack may be triggered by an allergic reaction to something inhaled, swallowed or injected
into the body.
An asthma attack can be precipitated by insect stings, air pollutants, infections,
strenuous exercise or emotional stress. All of these can make the bronchial tubes close off.
Other names for asthma include
reversible obstructive airway disease, twitchy lung
syndrome, wheezy bronchitis, allergic asthma
When an asthma attack occurs- the small bronchioles that lead to the air sacs of the lungs
become narrowed because of contraction of the muscles that make up the airway there’s an
overproduction of thick mucus.
The contractions and thick mucus cause the small passage to
practically close down, severely restricting air flow. The airflow is mainly restricted in one
direction. During exhalation stale air becomes trapped in the lungs.