Asthma

Bronchial asthma; Wheezing - asthma - adults

Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow. It leads to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Lungs

The major features of the lungs include the bronchi, the bronchioles and the alveoli. The alveoli are the microscopic blood vessel-lined sacks in which oxygen and carbon dioxide gas are exchanged.

Spirometry

Spirometry is a painless study of air volume and flow rate within the lungs. Spirometry is frequently used to evaluate lung function in people with obstructive or restrictive lung diseases such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.

Asthma

Asthma is a disease in which inflammation of the airways causes airflow into and out of the lungs to be restricted. The muscles of the bronchial tree become tight and the lining of the air passages swells, reducing airflow and producing the characteristic wheezing sound. This is known as an asthma attack, which can occur as an allergic reaction to an allergen or other substance (acute asthma), or as a part of a complex disease cycle which may include reaction to stress or exercise (chronic asthma).

Peak flow meter

A peak flow meter is commonly used by a person with asthma to measue the amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs. If the airways become narrow or blocked due to asthma, peak flow values will drop because the person cannot blow air out of the lungs as well. A peak flow meter can be a useful aid in monitoring a person's asthma over time and can also be used to help determine how well a patient's medications are working.

Asthmatic bronchiole and normal bronchiole

Asthma is a disease in which inflammation of the airways causes airflow into and out of the lungs to be restricted. When an asthma attack occurs, mucus production is increased, muscles of the bronchial tree become tight, and the lining of the air passages swells, reducing airflow and producing the characteristic wheezing sound.

Common asthma triggers

Many of the same substances that trigger allergies can also trigger asthma. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, mold and pet dander. Other asthma triggers include irritants like smoke, pollution, fumes, cleaning chemicals, and sprays. Asthma symptoms can be substantially reduced by avoiding exposure to known allergens and respiratory irritants.

Exercise-induced asthma

Exercise-induced asthma is distinct from allergic asthma in that it does not produce long-term increase in airway activity. People who only experience asthma when they exercise may be able to control their symptoms with preventive measures such as warm-up and cool-down exercises.

Respiratory system

Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.

Spacer use - Series

Spacers (also called holding chambers) work with your metered dose inhaler (MDI) to deliver inhaled medication more easily and effectively, and can reduce side effects. Spacers hold the "puff" of medicine between you and the MDI, so that you can inhale it slowly and more completely. As a result, more of the medicine gets into your airways.

Metered dose inhaler use - Series

Remove the cap from the end of the inhaler. Check for any dust, lint, or other objects. Shake the inhaler well.

Nebulizer use - Series

Nebulizers are used to treat asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and other conditions where inhaled medicines are indicated. Nebulizers deliver a stream of medicated air to the lungs over a period of time.

Peak flow meter use - Series

A peak flow meter helps you check how well your asthma is controlled. Use it every day, and keep track of the results to help your doctor learn about your asthma. This may also help you determine if your asthma is getting worse, even before you have symptoms.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention