What is Asthma?

What is Asthma?

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The Nursing Division of the Livingston Health Department would like to remind its residents about the asthma during this active and allergen filled season.  Asthma is a condition where something causes the person’s airways of the lungs to narrow or become blocked.  This narrowing and blocking of the airways make it difficult for the person to breathe.  According to the CDC, Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be treated.

So what makes an asthma attack so bad?  Typically, normal air exchange (breathing) allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely during inhalation and exhalation.  For people with asthma, the airway in which the air travels is highly sensitive.  The tissue(s) along the air pathway to and from the lungs can become inflamed easily if exposed to an irritant.  This causes asthmatics to have an “episode” or “attack”.

According to the CDC in an asthma episode:

– The lining of the airways swells and becomes more inflamed.

– Mucus clogs the airways.

– Muscles tighten around the airways.

-These changes narrow the airways until breathing becomes difficult and stressful, like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.


Material and information provided above attained from the Center for Disease Control www.cdc.gov/asthma.  Please see additional information at The CDC’s Breathing Easier Brochure for more resources contact Ashley Messer, RN/Health Educator at the Livingston Nursing Department (973)-535-7961 x227 .