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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) disease that makes it harder to breathe.  The airways in the lungs are more sensitive when exposed to certain triggers (things that make your asthma worse). 

When exposed to triggers the airways become:

  1. Swollen and filled with mucus
  2. Narrow from the muscles tightening

It is important for asthma to be well-controlled.  Uncontrolled asthma can lead to reduced quality of life, activity limitations, asthma emergencies which can be life-threatening and permanent changes to the airways (airway remodelling). Almost all asthma can be well-controlled. Asthma can’t be cured, but with proper treatment, people with asthma can lead normal active lives.  The first step is learning about asthma and how to manage it.

How Common is Asthma?

Asthma is common as 10.8% of Canadians have asthma.  It is also one of the leading reasons for childhood hospitalizations.  In Saskatchewan 10.2% (10.4% female, 9.9% males) of people have asthma.  Asthma is more common in males in childhood, but higher for females 20 years and older.