​What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs in which airways become blocked or narrowed. The symptoms are usually temporary but include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Asthma is a hereditary disease that is passed down from generation to generation.

Asthma is typically divided into two types: Allergic (extrinsic) asthma and non-allergic (intrinsic) asthma. While the symptoms for the two types can be the same (chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, rapid breathing or coughing), the attacks are triggered by different factors.

Inhaling allergens such as pollen, molds, dust mites, pet dander, etc triggers Allergic Asthma. It can also be triggered by foods we ingest such as shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or even some drugs such as aspirin. Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma. Our bodies have an allergic reaction when allergens are ingested causing the airways of the lungs to become inflamed and swollen.

Non-allergic Asthma is triggered by factors other than allergens. It is not the body's allergic reaction to the inhalation of allergens. Factors that can trigger non-allergic asthma include stress, cold air, dry air, anxiety, exercise, smoke, chemicals or other irritants.

What is Asthma?