What is asthma?
Asthma is derived from the Greek word for "panting." Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. It is also called bronchial asthma or reactive airway disease. The symptoms reoccur and vary. They include wheezing, coughing, tightness of the chest, and shortness of breath. Technically these symptoms are described as reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. It is associated with inflammation of the bronchial tubes and an increased production of sticky secretions inside them. The number of people contracting this disease is increasing. Over 8% of the U.S. population suffers from asthma. And asthma attacks can be fatal.
What causes asthma?
The exact cause is unknown. The triggers for this chronic inflammatory disease of the airways vary from person to person. But when airways come into contact with this trigger, they become inflamed, narrow, and fill with mucus.
There is some evidence for genetic influences and environmental factors. For some people, allergies play a role. See our page about essential oils and allergies for more details on this related condition.
Some other common triggers include dust mites, molds, pollen, pets, cockroaches, household irritants and secondhand tobacco smoke. For some people, exercise can induce an asthma attack.
Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.