Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways. Symptoms include periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles of the bronchial tree become tight and the lining of the air passages swells, reducing airflow and producing the characteristic wheezing sound. Mucus production is increased.
There is no cure for asthma, though symptoms sometimes lessen over time. With proper self care and medical treatment, most people with asthma can lead normal lives.