Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition in the airways of the lungs.
Children and youth with asthma have very sensitive, twitchy airways. These sensitive airways react to things in their environment. These things in the environment that trigger or bring on asthma are called “triggers”. When children and youth with asthma come into contact with one of their triggers, three things may happen that cause the airways in their lungs to narrow:
- The lining inside the airways starts to swell (become inflamed).
- Excess mucus is produced that build-up in the airways.
- the muscles that wrap around the outside of the airways contract, squeezing or constricting the airway.
This narrowing of the airways can lead to symptoms of asthma such as:
- difficulty breathing
- chest tightness
For some children and youth, the most common, and perhaps only symptom, is coughing.
Illustration of a normal airway, asthmatic airway, and an asthmatic airway during attack