Asthma is the most common chronic condition. It’s an inflammatory disease of the lungs' airways connected with increased bronchi sensitivity.

What causes asthma?

Inflammation gets to the bronchi, so the airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus, making breathing difficult.

  • Childhood asthma’s onset is in 50 % of cases before age 5.
  • Adult-onset asthma is in 50 % of cases from childhood.
  • Asthma in the elderly is in 30 % of cases after age 65.

More than 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and it’s estimated that another 100 million people will have it in 2025.

Around 300 000 Czechs were being treated for asthma in 2021. An estimated 250–350 thousand people are unaware of their condition, hence not being treated.

Risk factors:

1. Genetic and environmental:

  • Family history of asthma
  • Atopic eczema (predisposition for allergies)
  • Environmental factors:
    • Allergens (dust, pollen, dust mites, animals, medication)
    • Chemicals in the workplace (agricultural, textile and pharmaceutical industry, food processing, plastic and rubber manufacturing)
  • Infection and inflammation

2. Triggers:

  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Emotions
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Cold
  • Infection
  • Smoking and passive smoking 
  • Allergens

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The symptoms are more or less severe and manifest depending on various circumstances. Asthma usually occurs at night or early in the morning or as a reaction to heavy exercise, cold air or the presence of allergens in the environment.

  • Shortness of breath, usually accompanied by wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing (especially at night and in the morning, with strong emotions)

If the triggers appear (cigarette smoke, cold air…), the bronchi become swollen, and it’s hard to breathe. We call it an asthma attack.

If you notice any of these signs, see your general practitioner, who’ll fill out a request form for you to see a medical specialist.


What to do when someone’s having an asthma attack?

  1. Avoid the trigger.
  2. Loosen tight clothing around the neck.
  3. Put them in a semi-fowler position.
  4. Get their medication (usually an inhaler)
  5. If the situation doesn’t improve within minutes, call 155 (Czech) or 112 (Europe)!

How to take care of your lungs?

1. Take your prescribed medication.

While there’s no cure for asthma, getting it under control is important for improving the quality of life. Taking your pills is essential. We have two main asthma medication types:

  • quick-relief ones for acute attacks
  • preventive ones for long-term treatment.

You can take the Asthma Control Test at to help you manage.

It’s vital to know how to use the inhaler correctly.

2. Get regular preventive health checkups.

3. Get vaccines for respiratory diseases (flu, pneumococcus diseases, COVID-19).

Asthma patients are at higher risk of having a more severe course of respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, caused, e.g. by pneumococcus or flu viruses.   

4. Live a healthy lifestyle.

It includes a balanced diet, regular exercise (5 times a week for 30 minutes) and cold exposure training. Maintaining healthy lifestyle principles improves your immunity.

5. Avoid the triggers.

It’s crucial to quit smoking and avoid passive smoking! Try to avoid exposing yourself to triggering allergens (animals, dust, pollen…) and avoid even those factors that worsen asthma (cold air, excessive physical activity and stress). Learn to manage stress.


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Your donation helps us to buy new models, print leaflets and pay our lecturers and administrative workers for their work.