How does Asthma affect Breathing?

Updated at: Apr 17, 2012
How does Asthma affect Breathing?

How does asthma affect breathing : Asthmatics find it difficult to breathe due to inflammation of respiratory passages.

Himanshu Sharma
AsthmaWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Apr 17, 2012

Asthma affects lungs; therefore, breathing activity is disrupted. The breathing passages, bronchioles, become highly sensitive to various ‘triggers’ in the malady. Most common causes of asthma attack include exposure to smoke, dust, pollens and overworking.

Emotional reactions like getting overly excited or stressed is another possible reason of triggering asthma attack, wherein breathing becomes difficult. In this scenario, lungs tend to function faster than usual. Therefore, inhaler aid is needed to relax lungs in order to catch up with breathing process.

Effect on Respiratory System

  • Asthma narrows breathing airways, disrupting normal movement needed for inhaling and exhaling. Bronchial tubes are affected in the process as air sacs or lung tissue is not involved.
  • Inflammation, bronchospasm and hyperreactivity are the reasons for narrowing of respiratory airway.
  • During inflammation, airways become swollen as a result of mucus deposition. Formation of mucus clumps further chokes the airway.
  • Due to bronchospasm contraction, respiratory airways narrows further.
  • Tissues get damaged as a result of inflammation and get dropped into the airways causing narrowing.

Asthma Attack or Asthma Exacerbation

  • In asthma exacerbation, an individual finds is not able breathe as usual, and experiencing breath shortness.
  • Respiratory airway becomes more constricted and circumstances become life-threatening.
  • Patient experiences fatigue and disorientation.

Obstructive Lung Disease

Asthma causes resistance to exhalation, because of which malady is also referred to as obstructive lung disease. In medical terms, lung condition is known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which also includes maladies like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Facts about Asthma

  • There is no definite cure for asthma; therefore, its only treatment is by limiting triggers.
  • Chronic malady influences patient’s lifestyle, often leading to health conditions like obesity due to limited physical activity.
  • It affects irrespective of age, and is a common disorder in young ones.
  • External environment plays a key role in asthma action plan (preventative schedule).
  • Inflammation and narrowing worsens owing to less oxygen supply, often leads to flare up or exacerbation.
  • Owing to reduced oxygen supply in the bloodstream, carbon dioxide might also get accumulated in the blood, which is also life-threatening.
  • Persistent exposure to allergens or allergic substances firms asthma’s chronic grip, which continues to inflame the respiratory passage.
  • Asthma can be best managed if treatment follows diagnosis immediately.


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