Asthma Information

What is asthma?

Asthma is a common respiratory condition where the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten due to an asthmatic trigger. This makes the passageway narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and start to swell. Sometimes mucus also builds up which can make the airways more narrow.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

We still don’t know what the exact cause for asthma is. Usually it’s related to someone’s predisposition to the condition because of genetic family history. But there are various triggers that often activate asthma. Some of these are:

  • Viral infections – colds and flu.
  • Climate and temperature changes (cold air in particular).
  • Acute stress and emotional factors.
  • Exercise and strenuous activity.
  • Allergens (like dust mites, cats and other animal dander, grass and tree pollens, moulds, cockroaches).
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn).
  • Certain medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications and beta-blockers.
  • Certain foods and food preservatives, although this is uncommon.
  • Various chemicals in the workplace.
  • Wood smoke and bush fires.
  • Air pollution.

What Are We Doing About It?

The Institute for Respiratory Health’s medical trials for asthma explore new ways to prevent, and better understand asthma and improve its diagnosis and management.

Other information can be found at the Asthma Foundation of WALung Foundation Australia and Healthdirect Australia.