Medbroadcast  Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Osteoarthritis of the Knee NEW!
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Cold and Flu > Related Conditions > Asthma
Cold and Flu
Prep for cold & flu season
Boost your immunity
Self-care for cold and flu
Kids' cold and flu
H1N1 (swine flu)
Preparing for a pandemic
What do you do when sore throat, sniffles, and sneezes strike? Or when your child's fever spikes? Take comfort: Cold and flu symptom relief is just a click away.
Cold and Flu resources
Health features
Health tools
Related medications
Natural products
Related conditions

Asthma



In this condition factsheet:


The Facts on Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung condition. Inflammation, increased mucus, and muscle tightening cause the airways to narrow, and as a result, air can't move through the lungs as well as it should, which makes it difficult to breathe.

For reasons we do not completely understand, asthma is becoming more common each year, especially in children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 300 million people in the world have asthma. Over 3 million Canadians suffer from this condition.

Causes of Asthma

The cause of asthma is poorly understood, but it may be partly inherited. Everyone's lungs are sensitive to different things such as pollen, air pollution, or strong chemicals. In simple terms, people with asthma have lungs that are more sensitive than average.

There are 3 processes in the lungs that produce asthma symptoms. First, the inner linings of the airways become inflamed. They swell up, leaving less room for air to pass through. Second, the muscles around the airways can tighten, closing them further. Finally, the airways produce mucus in response to the inflammation, clogging the shrunken tubes.

Asthma is in part an allergic response. It may be triggered by some external substance that particularly irritates your lungs. These triggers are often small protein particles called allergens. Some people are sensitive to more than one trigger. Common allergens include:

  • animal dander
  • cockroach particles
  • grass, tree, and ragweed pollen
  • house dust mites
  • moulds

Other people can get an asthma attack from something they swallow rather than breathe. Examples of these triggers include:

  • ASA* and other anti-inflammatory medications
  • nuts or shrimp
  • preservatives found in some drinks or foods

While most people develop asthma as children, adults can become asthmatic by being exposed to allergens, irritants, or occupational sensitizers for a long time. People who work with the following products may be at increased risk:

  • antibiotics
  • cotton and flax
  • detergents
  • foams and paints
  • grains and cereals
  • insulation and packaging materials

Asthma attacks can also be triggered by non-allergic irritants, such as:

  • laughing hard, crying, shouting
  • smog and smoke
  • strong smells (e.g., paint fumes, perfumes, cleaning products)
  • suddenly breathing cold air
  • vigorous exercise
  • viral infections such as the common cold or the flu

Symptoms and Complications of Asthma

Some children feel an itch on the back of the neck just prior to an asthma attack. Some people have some warning sign that they can learn to recognize. Warning signs include sore throat, dark circles under the eyes, feeling tired or irritable, or a change in the colour of your face.

Asthma varies in its severity. Some people experience asthma symptoms continuously, while others experience symptoms only if exposed to triggers. Regardless of the severity, typical asthma symptoms include:

  • chest tightness
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing

With more severe asthma, these symptoms may occur at night.

Wheezing is the best-known asthma symptom, but not everyone with asthma wheezes. Some people only have a cough that doesn't seem to go away.

A really severe asthma attack is life-threatening. Even if some air is coming in, deadly carbon dioxide builds up in the blood. If you or a family member can't breathe and the normal medication isn't working, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.



 

Could your symptoms be COPD symptoms?

Take this short quiz to find out.

1 2 3 4
Do you find that common household chores and daily activities leave you short of breath? YES NO

This content is made possible by:

GlaxoSmithKline
Advertisement


Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.




 Search for information related to
GO
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
 
Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.