Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs characterized by increased airway reactivity in response to certain stimuli. During an asthma exacerbation, constriction of the smooth muscle of the bronchi, increased mucus production and mucosal edema occur, which creates the clinical presentation of respiratory distress.
In Our Own Words
Asthma is a chronic medical condition affecting the lungs. People who have asthma have airways that are sensitive to certain things that generally dont bother other people. Various stimuli, known as triggers, can cause an asthma attack. Common triggers include dust, smoke, exercise and cold weather.
During an asthma attack, the airways tighten, and inflammation or swelling occurs. The tightening and swelling makes the airways narrow. There is also an increase in mucus production. This combination of factors makes getting air in and out of the lungs difficult.