Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition in the airways of the lungs.
Children and youth with asthma have very sensitive, twitchy airways. These sensitive airways react to things in their environment. These things in the environment that trigger or bring on asthma are called “triggers”. When children and youth with asthma come into contact with one of their triggers, three things may happen that cause the airways in their lungs to narrow or become obstructed making it difficult to breathe:
- The lining inside the airways starts to swell or become puffy and inflamed (thus an inflammatory condition).
- Excess mucus is produced that build-up in the airways.
- The muscles that wrap around the outside of the airways contract, squeezing or constricting/narrowing the airway.
This narrowing of the airways leads to symptoms of asthma such as:
- difficulty breathing
- chest tightness
For some children and youth, the most common, and perhaps only symptom, is coughing.
Illustration of a normal airway, asthmatic airway, and an asthmatic airway during attack- Long Description