Asthma is a chronic disease that affects breathing. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air. Symptoms of asthma include: wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history and a physical exam. Allergy tests may also be prescribed.
When asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it’s called an asthma attack. Severe episodes may require emergency care and can be fatal. Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines for prevention.