Describe the symptoms, tests, and exams that led to a diagnosis of asthma.
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What is asthma?
The cause of asthma is unknown. More is known about the abnormal conditions that occur in asthma. These conditions include:
hyper-responsiveness(contraction) of the muscles of the breathing airways in response to many stimuli such as exercise or allergies (for example, drugs, food additives, dust mites, animal fur, and mold);
inflammation of the airways;
shedding of the tissue lining the airways;
increased secretion of mucus in the airways; and
swelling of the airways with fluid.
All of these conditions narrow the airways and make breathing difficult. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing (the hallmark of asthma), coughing, difficulty breathing, and tightness of the chest. Asthma is diagnosed by the presence of wheezing, but it can be confirmed by breathing tests (spirometry) that evaluate the movement of air into and out of the lungs.