Asthma is a long term condition in which air passages in the lungs become narrow due to inflammation and contraction of the muscles around the small airways. This causes symptoms such as cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. These symptoms are intermittent and are often worse at night or during exercise.
Some of the common triggers that can make asthma symptoms worse include viral infections (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in the weather, grass and tree pollen, animal fur and feathers, dust mites (dermatophagoides), strong soaps, and perfume. These triggers vary from person to person.
Asthma is diagnosed mainly with lung function tests but other blood tests and allergy testing also helps in making proper diagnosis. The treatment of asthma is vast but beta-2 agonists and corticosteroids remain the mainstay of asthma treatment.
Lifestyle and prevention measures such as avoiding triggers, avoiding foods that increase the risk of an asthma attack, and staying away from stress could be of great help when it comes to controlling asthma attacks. In severe cases, it can lead to a condition known as status asthmaticus that might require hospitalization.