Asthma

Overview

Overview

What is asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes the airways in the body to constrict, limiting the amount of air coming in and out of the lungs.

Causes of asthma

It is unclear why some people develop asthma and others don't. There is however a strong theory that asthma is triggered by an allergy or irritation.

How is asthma treated?

Because asthma is two conditions rolled into one, inflammation and bronchoconstriction of the airways, the most effective treatment consists of a two-pronged approach, treating both factors simultaneously.

Symptoms of asthma

Symptoms of asthma vary from patient to patient, but most sufferers will experience wheezing and difficulty breathing.

How is asthma diagnosed?

If you regularly have breathing problems your doctor should investigate whether or not you may be suffering from asthma.

How severe is your asthma?

Asthma severity is assessed to decide which treatment is suitable. Grade 1 is the mildest grade (known as mild intermittent asthma) and grade 4 the most severe.

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Ask the Expert

Asthma Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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