What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways leading to difficulties of breathing due to tightening and swelling of the smallest airways.
Asthma my be caused by many factors, including
- Allergens – mold, pollen, animals
- Irritants – cigarette smoke, air pollution
- Weather – cold air, changes in weather
- Infections – flu, common cold, pneumonia
- Genetic predisposition
Children with asthma often experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.
The goal of treatment is prevention of life threatening acute asthma episodes. Treatment of asthma aims at reducing inflammation and airway swelling by using steroids and leukotrien inhibitors plus drugs to reduce tightening of the airways, such as Beta2-agonists (ventolin/albuterol, salmeterol) and theophylline. Acute asthma episodes may require treatment with IV medications, and occasionally admission to Intensive Care Unit.