Asthma is one of the most serious, if not life-threatening, symptoms of chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease (CAID). There are millions of people who are affected by asthma, ranging from the very young to the very old, crossing ethnic barriers and socioeconomic groups. In the United States, asthma is the number one killer of children.
The symptoms of asthma directly affect our ability to breathe, which we often take for granted. If you have ever experienced an asthma attack or have witnessed a child or a friend suffering from asthma, then you know full well how scary it can be.
An asthma attack can be caused by something as benign as cold air or exertion. Allergies and drugs (such as aspirin or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs like Advil or Motrin) have been linked to asthma, as has stress. For people with asthma, the main goal of therapy is the prevention of chronic asthma symptoms so they can maintain a good quality of life without disruption - in school or work - and without frequent emergency room visits or hospitalizations.
Asthma is defined as a reversible constriction of the airways. In most instances, this causes wheezing. However, you can have asthma without wheezing, and there are other disorders that cause wheezing unrelated to asthma.