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A 32-year-old member asked:

what is asthma?

35 doctor answers57 doctors weighed in
Dr. Manav Singla
Allergy and Immunology 23 years experience
Breathing problem: Asthma is a life-long breathing problem. It is caused by swelling and closing of the airways and can make it hard to breathe. You cannot see airways because they are inside the body, connected to the lungs. If your child has asthma and it’s not treated, it could limit the activities your child can participate in, as well as her ability to feel well and be alert in school.
Dr. William Walsh
Addiction Medicine 17 years experience
Syndrome: Asthma is not one disease, but a collection of symptoms and problems that we treat similarly. The main problem in asthma is inflammation (swelling) in the small air conducting units in the lung combined with spasm of those airways. The problems is thought to mostly be caused by allergens in the air - but this may not always be true.
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Definition...: Asthma is a disease of the airways characterized by recurrent acute exacerbations of bronchospasm and airway inflammation. Between exacerbations, most asthmatics have no symptoms. There is no cure but there are effective treatments.
Dr. Boris Ripa
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Chronic disease: Of bronchi characterized by constriction, iflamation and increased sputum production.
Dr. John McMahan
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 48 years experience
Asthma: Asthma is a general description meaning you wheeze easily or frequently. There are contributing factors: allergy, sinus infections and reflux disorders are the most common. Asthma is often treated as an isolated lung condition... as if the wheezing is the disease when it's often only the symptom of other underlying issues. If the factors are controlled the "asthma" can become a non-issue.
Dr. Michael Rupp
Allergy and Immunology 21 years experience
Lung Inflammation: Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs that leads to narrowing of the airways and increased reactivity of the airways causing spasms of the muscles in the airway walls which makes you feel short of breath. It is usually caused by allergies, but can be caused by infections, chemical exposures, and many other things. IT can sometimes be cured with allergy shots aka immunotherapy.
Dr. Nayla Mumneh
Allergy and Immunology 29 years experience
Asthma: Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs that can cause constriction of the airways and causes shortness of breath, cough and wheezing and is usually treated with bronchodilators and antiinflammatory inhalers, and sometimes other medications are indicated depending on the severity of the disease. A pulmonologist or allergist can diagnose and treat it.
Dr. Alvin Lin
Geriatrics 30 years experience
Shortness of breath: Asthma can be thought of as your lungs getting too tight to get enough air in & out, thus leading to characteristic wheezing & shortness of breath. With that said, absence of wheezing doesn't imply lack of asthma b/c asthma attack can be so bad that there's no air movement, thus no sound. Breathing tubes can get smaller (bronchospasm) & plug w/mucus due to inflammation. http://goo.gl/mxu8b.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine 52 years experience
Airway inflammation: Main components of asthma are inflammation and constriction of small airways, making more difficult to breathe. When exposed to virus or allergen, wheezing can occur.The more severe inflammation and constriction, the worse the asthmatic attack. Cells in the airways might make more mucus than usual plugging up airways. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood.
Dr. Katharine Cox
Pediatric Emergency Medicine 45 years experience
Asthma: Generally recurrent episodes of asthma following a trigger such as a virus or allergen. Some people with asthma have episodes of coughing or SOB. Exercise may also induce episodes of wheezing. There is usually a family history. Review your symptoms with your doctor. He/she may want to send you for Pulmonary Function testing. All the best.
Dr. HARRY OPSIMOS
Pediatric Pulmonology 22 years experience
A condition: a condition based on inflammation of the airways that causes increased secretions, cough and difficulty breathing
Dr. Yash Khanna
Family Medicine 57 years experience
InflammatoryDisease: Asthma is a chronic Inflamatory Disease of the Airway and causes recurrent symptoms and airflow obstruction and reversible airflow obstruction and Bonchospasm It can present as cough,wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Dr. John Chiu
Allergy and Immunology 57 years experience
Inflammation: Generally defined as inflammation of the airways lead to airway narrowing thereby causing shortness of breath, coughing, and/or wheezing. There are many types of asthma including some which will progress to chronic obstructive lung disease. Although many cases of asthma are due to allergies , some are not.
Dr. Mary David
Dr. Mary David commented
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
It can also be known as reactive airway disease as the constriction can be caused by reaction to allergies, exercise, cold air, etc.
Feb 20, 2015
Dr. Yash Khanna
Family Medicine 57 years experience
InflammatoryDisease: Asthma is a chronic Inflamatory Disease of the Airway and causes recurrent symptoms and airflow obstruction and reversible airflow obstruction and Bonchospasm It can present as cough,wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Dr. Stephen Southard
Internal Medicine 15 years experience
Chronic disease: It is chronic inflammatory disease of the airways with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. This is related narrowed airways from inflammatory changes of the airway walls and spasm of the muscle in the airways(bronchospasm).
Dr. Chad Rudnick
Pediatrics 10 years experience
Asthma: Tough to answer in only 400 characters. But, asthma is a lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs. Read more information here: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/learning-more-about-asthma/ talk with your doctor to address any specific medical concerns or have consult via HealthTap.
Dr. Yash Khanna
Family Medicine 57 years experience
InflammatoryDisease: Asthma is a chronic Inflamatory Disease of the Airway and causes recurrent symptoms and airflow obstruction and reversible airflow obstruction and Bonchospasm It can present as cough,wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Dr. Justin Greiwe
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Asthma: There are 3 main characteristics of asthma: airway inflammation, sensitivity to triggers, and the temporary occurrence of airflow obstruction leading to shortness of breath. These symptoms can be relieved by rescue and/or controller medications like albuterol and inhaled steroids. If you are concerned you might have asthma see your doctor or Allergist for evaluation and pulmonary function testing.
Dr. Yash Khanna
Family Medicine 57 years experience
InflammatoryDisease: Asthma is a chronic Inflamatory Disease of the Airway and causes recurrent symptoms and airflow obstruction and reversible airflow obstruction and Bonchospasm It can present as cough,wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Dr. Stephen Southard
Internal Medicine 15 years experience
Chronic disease: It is chronic inflammatory disease of the airways with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. This is related narrowed airways from inflammatory changes of the airway walls and spasm of the muscle in the airways(bronchospasm).
Dr. Robert Robinson
Internal Medicine 21 years experience
Airway Obstruction: Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs that causes wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath due to airway obstruction. The symptoms are usually episodic, but can be present on a daily basis.
Dr.
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Asthma - general: Asthma is a combination of cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, not necessarily all at the same time. The symptoms usually come and go in response to different triggers like dust, animal dander, different foods, exercise or infections such as viruses or the common cold. Some people can have a constant low-level of symptoms that may manifest as a night time cough.
Dr. Nadia Ghattas
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Asthma : Asthma is a codition that affects the airways of the lungs, leading to a spasm of the smooth muscles in the bronchial tree, inflammation of the mucus mabrane that is lining the airway & also the secretion of mucus , all these factors lead to narrowing of the airway leading to wheezing, difficulty breathing & cough. It can be familial, allergic or due exposure to pollution. I hope this helps.
Dr. Claudia Kunrath
Pediatric Critical Care 26 years experience
Chronic disease: Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by sudden recurring attacks of wheezing, coughing and sometimes labored breathing. It is characterized by contraction of the muscular walls of the bronchial tubes and inflamation. If left untreated can cause significant respiratory distress and death.
Dr. Nadia Ghattas
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Same idea
May 29, 2015
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Lung disease: Please consult this site for good information on this disorder of breathing. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/basics/definition/CON-20026992
Dr. Amandeep Kaur
Family Medicine 10 years experience
Asthma: It is characterized by narrowing of the airways (breathing tubes) in the lungs. This narrowing is partially or completely reversible. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms tend to come and go, and are related to the degree of airway narrowing in the lungs. The airways are sensitive to a variety of stimuli, which may include viral illnesses (eg, the common cold), allergens, exercise, medicines, or environmental conditions.
Dr.
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Breathing problem: https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/a/asthma/ You may find this link useful. Asthma is where the tubes going to your lungs get narrow, often in reaction to something. There are medicines that can help reduce and control this reaction.
Dr.
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
Asthma: as the others have said is inflammation of the large breathing tubes (airways). It can be treated with medications and where triggers are known (not always) sometimes these can be avoided. Most GPs are familiar with the range of asthma treatments if this is required for you. Here is some general information developed from a Waikato perspective for you: http://www.asthmawaikato.org.nz
Dr.
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Asthma: Asthma is a condition that affects the smaller airways (bronchioles) of the lungs. From time to time the airways narrow (constrict) in people who have asthma.The typical symptoms are wheeze, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Treatment usually works well to ease and prevent symptoms .Treatment is usually with inhalers
Dr. Linda Green
Pediatric Allergy and Asthma 45 years experience
See a doctor: Patients with asthma require evaluation and treatment with prescription medicine. See an allergist for lung function testing and allergy testing if appropriate. The allergist can then discuss treatment options and prescribe appropriate medication for prevention and quick relief and provide a plan for dealing with exacerbations.
Dr. David Liu
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics 19 years experience
What stage: The most important step in treating asthma is to determine the stage/seriousness of the asthma, from mild to severe, intermittent to chronic. To do this, you need to know how often you wheeze, how many nights, etc. For some information, look here: http://www.Nhlbi.Nih.Gov/health/public/lung/index.Htm#asthma, but you should see your primary care provider for the proper staging and medications.
Dr. Yash Khanna
Family Medicine 57 years experience
Consult your Doctor: First thing to do is consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis after a detailed history physical exam and pulmonary function tests.And your doctor will make a treatment plan based on the severity of your asthma. 1avoid trigers like smoking, house dust, pets if you are allergic to them and others if any 2controlling meds 3relievers used for acute attacks educate yourself about your condition.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics 46 years experience
See A doctor: If not controlled, see a doctor.They will evaluate you, try to the determine the causes and proper therapy.
Dr. Vasudha Kaushik
Family Medicine 16 years experience
Lifestyle change: Avoid all milk products since the milk protein causes respiratory tract inflammation. Also avoid grains, lentils. Consume veggies, flesh foods, olive oil. Getting 30 -45 min of sunshine at noon daily or taking vitamin D3 10,000 IU/day and taking a good probiotic (not yogurt) help reduce inflammation Yoga breathing exercises 10-30 min/day help too. This may help avoid the need for meds
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
General advice ??: The best advise for an asthma patient is to get a good evaluation, set up a reasonable treatment plan & comply with that plan. Proper followup & a good relationship with your pcp helps assure you can adjust treatment as changes arise.

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A 45-year-old member asked:

What causes asthma?

7 doctor answers23 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sean McGhee
Allergy and Immunology 23 years experience
Genes + environment: People with asthma usually are predisposed to be allergic. This is usually inherited, and so caused by your particular genes. However, this alone is not enough. There is also clearly an effect from the environment you live in. Exactly what in the environment is responsible is unknown, but is the object of much interest and research.
A 50-year-old member asked:

Is asthma transmissible?

4 doctor answers20 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alan Goldsobel
Allergy and Immunology 44 years experience
Not really: Asthma is not an infectious disease and so is not transmissible as such. Viral infections or colds that worsen asthma are transmissible or infectious. Asthma often may have a genetic component and so does run in families.
Dr. Michael Rupp
Allergy and Immunology 21 years experience
That said, Asthma is not directly inherited. You inherit the tendency to develop allergies or other inflammatory responses, but each person will manifest this differently.
Aug 27, 2014
Dr. Corey Clay
Dr. Corey Clay commented
Allergy and Immunology 10 years experience
Dr Rupp's description of the genetic component is more accurate than mine.
Mar 9, 2015
A 22-year-old member asked:

Is asthma communicable?

2 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. William Walsh
Addiction Medicine 17 years experience
No: It is not; asthma is the body's response to allergens or irritants in the air. Individual's responses to these stimuli vary widely, but they are not shared.
A 47-year-old member asked:

Can asthma return?

5 doctor answers19 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew Murphy
Allergy and Immunology 29 years experience
Possible: It is not unusual for a patient to have a history of asthma as a child/teen have the symptoms resolve and then return as an adult.
A 47-year-old member asked:

Is asthma transmissable?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
No... : Asthma is not contagious. But, if someone is having an exacerbation due to acute bronchitis, an infection of the airways, the viral or bacterial infection could be contagious. Coughing and sneezing into the elbow and frequent hand-washing will decrease the chance of spreading the infection.

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