In it’s simplest form, asthma is the reversible tightening of the tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs.
On a complicated level, it can be difficult to tell who’s tubes are tight enough to call her an “asthmatic” and who’s tubes are just a little “twitchy”. Many children, for example will get tight tubes for various reasons. Almost 49% of kids will wheeze. And that wheezing can be reversible, but it’s not always asthma.
About 13% to 14% of people in the US have asthma at any given time and most doctors can recognize asthma when they see it, but there are a few different clinical definitions that need to be considered before the ultimate diagnosis of asthma is given.
It is important to recognize that when an asthma diagnosis is given that it can be a life-threatening illness in certain cases. One can imagine what it feels like to have the air tubes tighten up all of a sudden. Thankfully, with today’s technologies and medications we have plenty of treatment options available that relieve almost all asthma symptoms, so it doesn’t have to be a life-threatening illness. Fifty or Sixty years ago when we didn’t have these things it was considered to be much more dangerous.
It is important for asthma sufferers and parents of asthma sufferers to remember that in an uncontrolled state, asthma can be life threatening. Remain aware of the subtle signs and symptoms of asthma. If a person feels like she can’t get enough air in or out, that can be a significant sign. In those cases, medications can be really helpful. When well treated, asthma should be well controlled and nearly invisible.