Asthma is a medical condition in which the airways become narrow and swell, producing extra mucus. The condition can make it difficult for a person to breathe and lead to coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. For some people, asthma can be a minor nuisance, whole for others it can be a major problem that interferes with the everyday activities, also leading to life-threatening asthma attack.
Some of the common complications of asthma include:
• Symptoms that interfere with work, sleep or recreational activities
• Permanent narrowing of bronchial tubes that affect how well one can breathe
• Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
• Side-effects from a long-term use of certain medications that were used for stabilizing severe asthma
• Emergency room hospitalisations and visits for severe asthma attacks
Asthma affects people of all age groups, though it most commonly starts during childhood. Young children who suffer frequent episodes of wheezing along with respiratory infections and have certain other risk factors are at a higher risk of developing asthma that continues after 6 years of age. The risk factors include eczema, allergies, or being born to parents who have asthma.
Boys are more likely to suffer asthma compared with girls, though among adults, more women have asthma than men. It is, however, not clear why sex or sex hormones play a role in causing asthma. Most people, but not all, have allergies. A lot of people develop asthma as a result of exposure to certain chemical irritants or industrial dusts in the workplace. Such a type of asthma is called occupational asthma.
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