Asthma affects around 1 in 10 people, meaning that all families will have a friend or relative with the disease. Asthma varies in severity, and when triggered results in wheezing and coughing. In severe asthma, this difficulty in breathing can be life threatening. When an asthma attack occurs, the lungs become inflamed and the muscles which control breathing become constricted.
The cause of asthma and asthma attacks is still not clear and it is believed to be due to a number of factors including genetics, infection and the environment. Likewise, asthma attacks can be triggered by a range of factors such as cold air, stress, exposure to pollen or simply exercise.