What Is Asthma?
Asthma Online Training Slide 3

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell up, narrow, and/or fill up with mucous.

It is a chronic ongoing disease that cannot be cured, but it can be managed so that individuals can live long productive lives.

Asthma occurs because the lungs respond to a stimulus, or “trigger,” that may not bother other people without asthma, but do cause a negative reaction in those who do have asthma. The triggers cause the airways to narrow, get smaller, and increase the difficulty of the individual to take in air (London, Ladewig, Ball & Bindler, 2007).

Air is what we need to breath and sustain life. Air passes through the nose into the nasal cavity down the nasal cavity within our throat and into large tubes that lead into the left and right lungs. It is within our lungs that air travels into little tubes called bronchioles then into sacs called alveoli. From there air travels from the sacs into our blood where our body can then transport to where it needs to go in order to keep us going (Lewis, Heitkemper, Dirksen, O & Bucher, 2007).

When someone with asthma comes across a trigger and the lungs overreact the tubes within the lungs swell up, muscles tighten and can also fill up with mucus to make it harder for air to pass through the lungs.

How a person reacts to his or her asthma condition depends on how narrow the airways get at any given time.

Side note: A person’s reaction can also depend on perceived severity of the situation, fear, and anxiety, but for the most part, depends on how open the airways of the lungs are or are not.


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