What is Asthma? Symptoms, causes, and types of Asthma

Updated: Jul 7

When we breathe, we inhale oxygen and via the airways the air enters our lungs. Later through small air passages, the lungs help deliver oxygen to the bloodstream. Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow, swelled and produces extra mucus, which makes it difficult for a person to breathe and makes physical activities challenging or even impossible. It’s a life-threatening disease, which easily doesn’t go and needs constant medical treatment. There's currently no cure for asthma, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it does not have a big impact on our life.



Types of Asthma


Asthma can occur in many different ways and for many different reasons, but the trigger factors remain the same. Common types are; -


1) Childhood Asthma


It’s the most common chronic condition in children. It can develop at any age, but it is slightly more common in children than in adults. In some cases, it improves as the child reaches adulthood, but for many it’s a lifelong condition.



2) Adult-Onset Asthma


Asthma can develop at any age, including during adulthood. According to a study, adults are more likely than children to have persistent symptoms.


3) Occupational Asthma


It occurs due to overexposure to an allergen or irritant present in the workplace. People who work in places like bakeries, hospitals, zoos, farms etc are more prone to this asthma. A person’s work environment can trigger a return of childhood asthma or the start of adult-onset asthma.


4) Seasonal Asthma


It occurs during seasonal changes, when certain types of allergens are present in the environment. For example, cold air in the winter or pollen in the spring/summer triggers symptoms of seasonal asthma.


Symptoms of Asthma


Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing, especially at night

  • Chest pain and tightness

  • Increased mucus production

  • Wheezing

  • Shortness of breath, severe breathing difficulty and difficulty talking

  • Anxiousness or panic

  • Fatigue

  • Rapid breathing

  • Frequent infections

  • Trouble sleeping

Causes of Asthma


Healthcare providers don’t know why some people have asthma while others don’t. But certain factors present a higher risk:


a) Allergies : Having certain allergies are bound to increase the risk of developing asthma.


b) Environmental factors : Air pollution both inside and outside the home can trigger asthma.


c) Genetics : People with a family history of asthma have a higher risk of developing the disease.


d) History of viral infections : People with a history of severe viral infections during childhood, such as respiratory syntactical virus infection (RSV), may be more likely to develop the condition.


e) Exercise : Too much of exercising can cause an attack.


f) Pests : Cockroaches, mice and other household pests dried skin flakes can cause asthma attacks.


g) Frequent smoking : People who smoke have a higher risk of developing asthma.