Asthma illustration




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Asthma is an inflammation of the mucus membranes in the airways, causing the bronchi to become swollen and more prone to constriction. Asthma can be triggered by many different factors and varies over time, this also means that treatment must be tailored to each person’s condition. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases, about 10% of the population suffers from it. Of all those with asthma, it is estimated that half have uncontrolled asthma, meaning they experience significant symptomatic problems and reduced lung function.

Common symptoms of asthma

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Breathing with wheezing and whistling sounds
  • Persistent coughing during a cold
  • Cough that is often long-lasting and occurs at night
  • Shortness of breath and coughing during physical exertion

Asthma most commonly begins in childhood, but it can develop at any time in life. If asthma is more noticeable in adulthood, it may be that the person had mild symptoms as a young person but did not know it was asthma. It’s also possible that asthma symptoms have been present all your life but don’t become noticeable until adulthood. Asthma can also be exacerbated by factors such as smoking and obesity.

Who gets asthma?

A combination of lifestyle, environment, and genetics, with genetics being the biggest risk factor, determines who gets asthma. There are about 30 different triggers that can cause asthma symptoms to occur. These include dust mites, fur animals, cold air, pollen, pollutants, etc. This is because the airways are exposed to irritating or allergenic substances.

What happens during an asthma attack?

During an asthma attack, the muscles of the bronchi contract while the mucus membrane swells. Mucus is then produced in the airways as the mucous membranes swell and the activity of the cilia decreases, making it difficult to breathe. The first symptoms often include coughing and increased mucus secretion.

How do I Know if I have asthma?

The most common symptoms of asthma are wheezing and tightness in the chest, coughing with mucus, and shortness of breath. You may also have a persistent cough every time you catch a cold. Symptoms can occur in attacks. If you are unsure whether you or someone close to you has asthma, it is always a good idea to undergo an asthma evaluation with your healthcare provider to get the best treatment for you. If you want to start an asthma evaluation, help is available here.

Should people with asthma avoid exercising?

Staying active and exercising is great for both mental and physical health, even for those with asthma. For asthmatics, physical exertion can feel challenging, but with proper treatment, asthmatics can exercise without symptoms! Don’t underestimate the importance of a good warm up, especially in cold, dry air.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma medication treats the root cause of the disease, which is airway inflammation. Some of the inhalers also contain bronchodilator medications that widen the airways, making it easier to breathe.

Can you be cured of asthma?

You can be completely symptom-free from asthma! Unfortunately, asthma cannot be cured and is a chronic disease, but if asthma starts in childhood, there is a relatively good chance that the symptoms will become milder over the years.


  • Astma- & allergiförbundet
  • Nationellt kliniskt kunskapsstöd