Causes of Asthma and Pneumonia

Asthma and pneumonia are among the most common breathing diseases. There are a number of factors that cause them.

Attacks of asthma can be caused by a temporary narrowing of the air passages. This may be due to swelling of the walls, or to the production of too much mucus. It may also be caused by the contraction of muscles in the walls of the air passages. Breathing becomes more difficult as in bronchitis. Asthmatic attacks occur in people who are especially sensitive to certain things, such as pollen carried in the air by wind currents. Some asthmatic people are sensitive to other things. Dusts, feathers, the fur of certain animals, some cosmetics or certain foods can all cause asthma. Excitement or worry can also bring on an attack of asthma in some people. Many asthmatic people feel wheezy and short of breath in a smoky atmosphere.

In case of pneumonia the lungs become inflamed. It is usually caused by certain bacteria, or by other microbes called viruses. These get into the lungs and multiply so that the walls of the alveoli become swollen and inflamed. The alveoli become filled with fluid and blood cells. Movement of oxygen into the blood therefore slows down. In a healthy person there are few microbes which can cause pneumonia. However in someone with, for example, chronic bronchitis, some of the bacteria which normally live harmlessly in the upper air passages, can get into the lungs and cause pneumonia. It is pneumonia which often finally kills those who suffer from bronchitis.

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