Every year in spring millions of people around the world suffer from asthma. It is a time when flowers blossom and grass is cut.

Asthma is an illness that narrows the breathing passages. As a result, not enough air can enter and leave your lungs. According to the World Health Organisation over 230 million people around the world are suffering from asthma. Among children it is the most chronic disease. While asthma occurs in almost all countries, asthma-related deaths happen mainly in the poorer countries of the Third World.

In America over 25 million people and 7 million children develop asthma every year. The disease is more common among African Americans. The death rate among this group is five times as high as among whites.

The WHO warns that asthma rates are increasing by 50 % every ten years. Asthma also causes a loss of business and does damage to the economy because many people stay at home when they are ill.

Asthma occurs when tissue in your throat begins to expand or swell. Muscles in these passages become tighter and cells begin to produce some sticky substance, which makes airways even smaller. This makes it difficult for air to flow into your lungs.

When this happens we call it an asthma attack. Victims fight to get enough air into their lungs, sometimes they have to cough and they breathe heavily. Sometimes asthma victims have a pain in the chest. Such an illness can deeply influence a person's health and may even lead to death.




Doctors are not sure what causes asthma. Some argue that environmental influences are the main factors; however, some doctors claim that genes are also responsible for asthma. Almost half of the parents who suffer from asthma will also pass it on to their children. 70% of all people who have asthma also suffer from allergies, when the body reacts in an unusual way towards mostly harmless substances.

Many things can trigger asthma attacks, sometimes pollen that fly through the air, at other times dust, animal hair, mold or dampness. Air pollution from motor vehicles, factories, smoking, household sprays and other chemicals can lead to asthma. Exercising in cold weather can also trigger an asthma attack.

Many doctors prescribe asthma patients albuterol. Asthma victims often use a machine that turns this medicine into a fog-like spray that is connected to a mask that fits over your nose and mouth. It helps reduce the swelling of the airways.

There are some things that individuals can do to reduce the suffering caused by asthma. They should know when and how to take their medicine and how to treat asthma attacks when they occur.

There are also new methods that have been tried out. Researchers have tested a new vaccine that protects people from dust. It produces dust particles of its own and makes the human body immune to dust.



Related Topics



  • according to = as reported by …
  • allergy = if you become ill or your skin gets red because of something you have eaten or something you have touched
  • asthma-related = connected with asthma
  • blossom = to produce flowers
  • breathing passage = parts of your body that help you take air in and blow it out, like your throat and lungs
  • cause = lead to
  • chest = the front part of your body between your neck and your stomach
  • chronic = never ending
  • claim = say
  • common = widespread
  • connect = link to
  • dampness = wetness
  • deeply = very much
  • disease = illness
  • dust = dry powder made up of very small bits of dirt
  • economy = system by which a country’s money and goods are produced
  • environment = the world around us
  • exercise = to do sport
  • expand = to become bigger
  • factor = reason
  • flow = move
  • fog = cloudy air that has small droplets of water in it
  • gene = part of a living cell that controls what you look like, how you grow etc..
  • harmless = not dangerous
  • heavily = here: to have problems breathing
  • immune = you cannot catch a disease
  • influence = change
  • lead to = to be the cause of
  • loss = to no longer have something
  • mold = soft green or grey material that grows on food if you keep it too long or if it is kept in warm wet air
  • motor vehicle = car, motorbike, bus or other objects that have an engine and can drive
  • narrow = to make smaller
  • occur = happen
  • particle = a very small piece of something
  • pass it on = give it to
  • pollen = powder produced by flowers that are carried to other flowers of the same type by the wind or by insects
  • prescribe = to say what medicine an ill person should get
  • reduce = to make smaller
  • researcher = a person who studies something in order to find out more about it
  • spray = liquid that comes out of a container in very small drops
  • sticky = wet and thick
  • substance = material
  • suffer = to have pain, if something hurts you
  • swelling = an area in your body that has become larger than normal
  • throat = the passage between the back of your mouth to your lungs; you use it to swallow food
  • tight = to pull together
  • tissue = material that forms out of cells in your body
  • trigger = to make something happen very quickly
  • vaccine = medicine that has bacteria or a virus in it and can protect a person from an illness
  • victim = here: person who suffers from asthma