What is asthma?

Asthma airway

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma too. The lungs are made of tiny airways.

During an asthma flare-up, three things happen in the airways inside your lungs:

  • The lining or the walls of the airways become swollen
  • Mucus is made, which can plug the airways
  • Muscles around the airways tighten, making the airways smaller

Asthma flare-ups can be avoided and controlled by:

  • Responding to symptoms
  • Using medicine the right way
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Working with your doctor, school staff, and childcare workers

Asthma does not go away when your symptoms go away. If you have asthma you need to keep taking care of it, even when you’re feeling good.

Goals for asthma control

  • No asthma symptoms during day or night, including coughing and sleeping through the night
  • Best possible lung function
  • No missed school or work
  • No hospital or emergency room visits for asthma
  • Few side effects from medications
  • Satisfied with asthma care