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General Information

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease. It affects your airways, the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.

What is happening inside the lungs when someone has asthma symptoms?

  • Airways tighten up - Inside the wall of each airway there is a thin layer of muscle. When it contracts, it makes the airway narrower.
  • Airways thicken up - The lining of the airways gets swollen and inflamed, leaving less space to breathe through.
  • Airways fill up - The inside of the airways can get blocked by mucus.

This can cause wheezing, coughing and tightness in your chest. When these symptoms get worse than usual, it is called an asthma attack or flare-up.

While the exact causes of asthma are not known, the risk of getting asthma partly depends on genetics. Asthma can run in families, and is usually classified as allergic or non-allergic.

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