What is Asthma?

More than 300 million people in the world have asthma – a chronic respiratory disease. It is one of the most common long-term diseases in children, although adults have it as well.

Asthma causes wheezing; breathlessness; chest tightness and coughing at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you will have it constantly, but attacks generally only happen when something bothers your lungs.

What’s An Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack usually starts when your airways over-react to a trigger, that is, something that makes your symptoms worse. This over-reaction results in airways swelling and narrowing, and producing more mucus. Breathing therefore becomes difficult, beginning with coughing and then progressing to even more difficulty breathing, and in most people, eventually to wheezing – noisy breaths that sound like a whistling or rattling sound in the chest.

An asthma attack is traumatic for all involved. The asthmatic often feels out of control, fearful of participating in physical activity and is often embarrassed about taking medications such as inhalers in front of others. In addition, the sensation of chest tightness and struggling for breath that occurs during an attack is frightening. The story that is seldom told is that of the family members and caregivers who experience helplessness and loss of peace of mind while they wait, on edge, for the next attack, or sit helplessly watching their loved ones struggle for breath during an attack.

How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma?

Diagnosing asthma, especially in children younger than 5, is often difficult. Often, doctors will check how well your lungs work, as well as for allergies, to determine if you have asthma. Other things a doctor will generally ask you:

  • Do you cough a lot, especially at night?
  • Are your breathing difficulties worse after physical activity, or at certain times of the year?
  • Do you have chest tightness, wheezing, and/or colds lasting more than 10 days?
  • Does anyone in your family have allergies or asthma?

Often, the doctor will also check how well your lungs are working using a device called a spirometer.

You Are Not Alone

More than 300 million people in the world have asthma. In the US, the CDC estimates that 7.6% of adults (i.e., 18.4 million people) and 8.4% of children (i.e., 6.2 million children) have asthma.

Learn More at:  www.cdc.gov/asthma

Control Is Possible!

Tips for successful Asthma Management:

  • Ensure you have an Asthma Action Plan (also called an Asthma Management Plan)
  • Take your medicine exactly as your doctor or relevant medical professional tells you to – even when you have no symptoms
  • Avoid triggers as much as possible

Global Asthma Organizations, Facts and Figures


THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE FOR ASTHMA Launched in 1993 as a collaboration among the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health, USA and the World Health Organization www.ginasthma.org

The Global Asthma Network

The Global Asthma Network was established in 2012 to improve asthma care globally. globalasthmanetwork.org

The Global Asthma Report 2014



ADAMM provides Intelligent Asthma Management™ – automating management, increasing adherence and identifying precursor symptoms much earlier – giving caregivers peace of mind and improving asthmatics’ quality of life.