Asthma cannot be cured, but most people with asthma can control it so that they have few and infrequent symptoms and can live active lives.
When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it is called an asthma episode or attack. During an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten up, making the airways narrower so less air flows through. Inflammation increases, and the airways become more swollen and even narrower. Cells in the airways may also make more mucus than usual. This extra mucus also narrows the airways. These changes make it harder to breathe.
Asthma is closely linked to allergies. Most, but not all, people with asthma have allergies. Children with a family history of allergy and asthma are more likely to have asthma.
Although asthma affects people of all ages and races. It is Australia's most widespread chronic (long-term and persistent) health problem. It affects over 2 million Australians: 1 in 7 primary school-aged children, 1 in 8 teenagers and 1 in 9 adults. At present the cause of asthma is not known and there is no cure.
It most often starts in childhood. More boys have asthma than girls, but in adulthood, more women have asthma than men.
Common asthma symptoms include:
• Coughing. Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
• Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe.
• Chest tightness. This can... [continues]
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