Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition caused by hypersensitivity (over-reacting to things) and inflammation (swelling and redness) of the airways.
When asthma symptoms get significantly worse, it is known as an 'asthma attack'.
Call triple zero (000) to seek immediate help if you or someone else has severe symptoms of asthma.
Your doctor can normally diagnose asthma by asking you questions and doing tests. They will want to know when and how often symptoms happen, and if you have noticed anything that might trigger them.
A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and brings on the symptoms of asthma. These differ from person to person, and people with asthma may have several triggers. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, exercise, cold air and chest infections.
Your doctor will also want to know if you have been taking any medicines, what your occupation is, whether you smoke or are exposed to passive smoking, as well as details about your work and home environment.
Are you caring for someone with asthma?
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Last reviewed: June 2018