Asthma is an allergic disorder affecting the lungs. It is a chronic condition with no cure that can be fatal if not closely monitored. An asthma flareup, also known as an attack, causes the sufferer to experience distressing and dangerous respiratory symptoms. If one is dealing with a severe asthma attack, they should seek immediate medical help. 25 million people have been diagnosed with asthma in the United States and many more likely have mild and undiagnosed asthma.
Symptoms of asthma and asthma attacks
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing and coughing
- Excessive production of mucus
- Chest tightness
- Complete respiratory failure
- Feeling of panic or doom
Extrinsic versus intrinsic asthma
Extrinsic asthma is caused by allergies, often to foods like, shellfish, nuts, and wheat. The body’s natural reaction to allergens will cause asthma symptoms. Intrinsic asthma is caused by non-allergic causes, like strong emotions, vigorous exercise, and environmental pollutants.
Both extrinsic and intrinsic asthma cause an inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. As these breathing passages narrow the body also produces excess mucus which fill in the now narrower passageways. If this condition is not quickly remedied, it can lead to complete respiratory failure and death. In milder flareups, breathing will continue but be labored and uncomfortable.