Last Updated: February 27, 2019
Asthma: What is it?
Image: Property of UNC CEHS COEC
Big Idea: Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that makes it difficult for people to get air in and out of their airways during an asthma attack.
- Asthma is a disease of the lungs that is developed or worsened when environmental exposures cause inflammation. This image shows the contrast between normal lungs and those affected by asthma symptoms. The first image shows a cross-section of a normal bronchial tube.
- The second image shows a cross-section of a bronchial tube during asthma symptoms, after exposure to the trigger that caused the symptoms. This inflammation results in swelling of the bronchial tubes, the secretion of mucus and the tightening of muscles around the inflamed bronchial tubes.
- Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. However, it is advised that a physician should diagnose asthma.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), updated August 2014