What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that usually, but not always, begins in childhood and causes the bronchial tubes in the lungs to become inflamed. This inflammation restricts the flow of air through these airways and causes mucus to form. The severity of this disease will vary among individuals.
These airways become very sensitive to certain substances. When inhaled, these substances cause the airways to react by tightening the muscles surrounding them. This makes it even more difficult for air pass through.
Asthma affects about 3 million people in Canada with about 500 per year dying from this disease. Approximately 60% of those in Canada with Asthma do not have control of it and are in danger of sudden, life threatening attacks.
Children who are afflicted with Asthma usually contract this disease before the age of six. While Asthma in children is more common among boys, as adults it is more common among women.
Asthma can be lived with fairly well when under control but there are still triggers that will bring on an attack and require some type of medical intervention. The triggers can be different for different people and the severity of the resulting Asthma attacks will vary.
Common Asthma Triggers
- Exercise and physical activity
- Allergens (dust, pollen, dander, mold, grass, etc.)
- Inhaled fumes and substances (smoke, perfumes, workplace chemicals, etc.)
- Some anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin
- Breathing cold air
- Air pollution
- Sulfites (a type of food preservative)
THIS MATERIAL DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN FOR SPECIFIC TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS.