Asthma is a disorder of the respiratory system in which the passages of the lung
periodically narrow, causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. When Henry was
little he was diagnosed with asthma. Now carries an inhaler with him to help keep him from
having asthma attacks. Many people experience asthma symptoms everyday. Asthma can be
controlled by avoiding triggers such as dust or smoke.
There are three symptoms of asthma. The first symptom is airway obstruction. In people with asthma, allergy-causing substances and environmental triggers make bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten, and air cannot move freely. For example, Dan was jogging through a park with many blossoming flowers. He started sneezing and became short of breath due to the pollen floating around in the air. The second symptom is inflammation. People with asthma have red swollen bronchial tubes, which are airways of the lungs. This inflammation is thought to contribute greatly to the long-term damage asthma can cause to the lungs. For example, Mark has had inflammation for years and now has severe damage to his lungs. And, therefore, treating this inflammation is the key to managing asthma in the long run. The third symptom is airway irritability. The airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive. The airways tend to overreact and narrow due to even the slightest triggers like pollen or animal dander. For example, Jimmy just got a new dog with shaggy hair that sheds all over the place. The hair would make Jimmy have an allergic reaction causing his airways to tighten, making it difficult for him to breathe. Asthma is also more common with people who have allergies or who are exposed to tobacco smoke. People with asthma have sensitive airways that react to many different things in the environment called triggers. Contact with triggers cause asthma symptoms to start or become worse. For example, Jerry...