Health A-Z: Asthma
This lung condition affects the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma and you come into contact with something that irritates your airways, the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so they become narrower and the lining becomes inflamed. Sticky mucus or phlegm can build up so it’s harder for air to get in and out of your lungs.
Asthma often runs in families and conditions such as hay fever and eczema are frequently linked with it. While asthma symptoms – including coughing and wheezing – often start in childhood, they can begin at any age. More than five million people in the UK have asthma. Since asthma symptoms can come and go, you may forget or feel you don’t need to keep taking your inhaler medication, but this complacency means the UK has one of the highest asthma death rates in Europe. So managing your asthma is vital.