What is asthma?
“Asthma is a chronic disease that involves airway inflammation and tight airway muscles around the airway,” says Theresa Guilbert, MD, co-director of the Asthma Center, part of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Those with asthma always have inflamed airways, but exposure to certain irritants can make the inflammation worse, causing more symptoms, she explains. She says asthma falls on a spectrum and presents differently in different children and at different ages. There is no minimum age to receive an asthma diagnosis; children as young as one year old can be diagnosed with asthma. Currently, close to 10 percent of children in the United States are living with asthma.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
The hallmark symptoms of asthma are wheezing, shortness of breath, recurrent cough, and chest pain, says Dr. Guilbert. If parents notice these symptoms or their child complains of them, it could be a sign they need to be tested for asthma. Check out these silent signs of asthma you should never ignore.