Asthma is a common chronic (long-term) lung disease. If you have been diagnosed with asthma, it means that the tubes or airways that carry air to and from your lungs are inflamed. You are also likely to have asthma attacks, which cause a worsening of the inflammation and increased tightening of the muscles that line your airways. The triggering factors, severity, and frequency of these asthma attacks vary from person to person. In some cases, the cells around your airways may produce excess mucous, which causes further obstruction of the airways.
Scientists do not fully understand why some people get asthma and others do not. Genetics seem to play a role and you are more likely to have asthma if someone in your family has asthma. You are also more likely to develop asthma if you have allergies. Although the root cause of asthma is not well understood, a number of factors are known to trigger asthma. Environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, certain chemicals and medicines, allergens, or viruses can trigger asthma attacks. They can also be caused by stress, exercise, or cold weather. There is no cure for asthma; however, with proper management, you can work with your doctor to prevent and control asthma attacks.
According to World Health Organization estimates, around 300 million people currently suffer from asthma, with 250,000 deaths annually. There is an increasing trend and by 2025, it is estimated that 400 million people worldwide will have asthma.