Asthma is a chronic condition that affects both kids and adults. It occurs when the airways in the lungs narrow due to inflammation and muscle contraction around the small passages. This results in symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. These symptoms can come and go and tend to worsen during physical activity or at night. Certain triggers, which vary from individual to individual, can also worsen asthma symptoms. Common triggers include viral infections, dust, smoke, fumes, weather changes, pollen, animal fur and feathers and perfumes.


Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.


Many factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, although it is often difficult to find a single, direct cause.

  • Asthma is more likely if other family members also have asthma – particularly a close relative, such as a parent or sibling.
  • Asthma is more likely in people who have other allergic conditions, such as eczema and rhinitis (hay fever).
  • Urbanization is associated with increased asthma prevalence, probably due to multiple lifestyle factors.
  • Events in early life affect the developing lungs and can increase the risk of asthma. These include low birth weight, prematurity, exposure to tobacco smoke and other sources of air pollution, as well as viral respiratory infections.
  • Exposure to a range of environmental allergens and irritants are also thought to increase the risk of asthma, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, house dust mites and occupational exposure to chemicals, fumes or dust.
  • Children and adults who are overweight or obese are at a greater risk of asthma.

Reducing the burden of asthma

Inhaled meds control asthma but can’t cure it. Two main types of inhalers: bronchodilators (open air passages) & steroids (reduce inflammation). Inhaler use varies, spacers can improve effectiveness. Access to inhalers limited in low-income countries. Patients & families need education on asthma, treatment, triggers, management.

Managing Asthma


Asthma can be diagnosed at any time in one’s life. While there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed by working with a healthcare provider to develop a plan to keep your asthma under control.

Asthma is well-controlled if you:

  • Need your quick-relief inhaler less than 3 times per week.
  • Do not wake up with asthma during the night
  • Do daily activities including exercise with few to no symptoms.

Six steps you can take to keep your asthma under control.

Step 1: Make Your Medical Visits More Productive

There are a number of resources available to help you ask the right questions about asthma management and treatment the next time you see your healthcare provider.

Step 2: Create an Asthma Management Plan

Learn how to develop a plan with your healthcare provider that includes key information on managing your asthma.

Step 3: Assess and Monitor Your Control

Common asthma symptoms can include a cough, tight feeling in your chest, wheezing, activity limitation and feeling tired. Keeping track of your symptoms will help you stay in control.

Step 4: Understand Your Medication

There are a variety of medicines available to treat asthma. Each person’s asthma is different and your doctor and healthcare team will work with you to set up a personalized plan.

Step 5: Reduce Asthma Triggers

Identify your asthma triggers and learn simple ways to limit your exposure or avoid them altogether.

Step 6: Learn Asthma Self-Management Skills

Learn more about asthma, including our asthma basics online course and what is asthma animation.


What to know about oxygen therapy for asthma

Oxygen therapy is a form of treatment that provides the body with additional oxygen. Doctors use oxygen therapy to treat various conditions, including severe asthma attacks.

Oxygen therapy is one treatment people can use to treat severe asthma attacks.


Oxygen Therapy

If you suffer from a chronic lung disease, supplemental oxygen through an oxygen concentrator may be necessary to maintain normal organ function.

Although oxygen therapy may be common in the hospital, it can also be used at home (Oxygen concentrator). There are several devices used to deliver oxygen at home. Your healthcare provider will help you choose the equipment that works best for you. Oxygen is usually delivered through nasal prongs (an oxygen cannula) or a face mask. Oxygen equipment can attach to other medical equipment such as CPAP machines and ventilators.

Diseases like: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) , Sleep Apnea , Bronchitis , COVID-19 , Asbestosis , asthma, lung abscess , lung cancer , Pneumonia , Pulmonary fibrosis or Cystic fibrosis can damage your lungs making it hard for the lungs to get the oxygen from the air into the blood.




For people who are prone to severe asthma attacks, oxygen therapy can help to prevent serious complications. Additionally, oxygen therapy can provide the following benefits for people with low oxygen levels:

  • decreased shortness of breath
  • increased energy levels
  • improved sleep