What is an asthma attack?
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict (tighten). When they tighten, it makes your airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The lining of your airways becomes swollen. Swollen airways don’t let as much air in or out of your lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
When your airways contract, you make a sound called wheezing when you breathe in, a noise your airways make when you breathe out. You also often hear an asthma attack called an exacerbation or flare. It is the term for when your asthma is not controlled.
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