Asthma is a common lung problem that causes breathing difficulties for people of all ages. Often the condition begins in childhood. However, it can also occur for the first time in adults. Sometimes children with asthma cease to experience attacks later in life. The severity of these attacks varies from slight breathing difficulties now and again to more serious regular breathing problems. Fewer than 1 in 20 people with asthma require specialist medical care. Most people successfully control the problem through the use of inhalers and medications.
Shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms of asthma, and it's caused by the airways narrowing. In some cases, the muscles around the airways tighten up. This is known as bronchospasm. In other cases, inflammation can cause the airways to swell. The body creates mucus, and this disrupts breathing. This happens because the lungs do not transfer oxygen as efficiently to the small blood vessels that make up the surface of the lungs.
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