You have probably heard something about asthma, sometimes one of your family members sufferers from it. It's fair to say that a majority has heard of the condition called asthma. But what do we actually know? Are the campaigns to inform the general public about asthma effective, or do they require a rethink?

Asthma is a lung condition that is chronic and causes difficulties in breathing. Because the muscles around your airways tighten during asthma attacks it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe. Allergies can also cause infection which in turn limits your ability to breathe. Reports of asthma date back to Roman times, however statistics show that during the industrialization in the Western world there was a clear increase in asthma related illnesses. There is some link air pollution to the development of asthma. In the United States alone there are over 20 million people with asthma, do keep in mind that the US population currently stands at around 300 million people. So about 7% are affected by the condition. Several thousand die due due to asthma-related causes in the US every year. Some deaths could be preceded if the condition is detected early enough, and steps are taken to minimize the effects.

Quite a well known asthma type is exercise-induced asthma. Once you start exercising your heart will start beating faster, which in turn requires more oxygen. Your lungs are working harder and people with asthma will see problems occur during this process. It makes it much harder to enjoy sports. Some have given up on sports completely, while others have trained their lungs rigorously to at least be able to enjoy some sports.

The lungs of asthmatics react strongly to certain smells / gasses. For non-smokers, the smell of cigarette smoke is not pleasant and can irritate our lungs – but for asthmatics it is much worse. They will probably leave the room to get some fresh air. Other causes of irritation are dust and pet hair. Keeping your house clean is one of the most important actions to take. It takes time and patience to exclude all known triggers from your lifestyle, but it is well worth the effort!