What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a serious and long-term condition that affects 1 in 9 Australians. Sadly, more than 400 Australians die of asthma each year.  

There is currently no cure, but in most cases asthma can be well managed and people with asthma can live a full life. 

Having asthma means you have sensitive airways. Your airways can become inflamed or swollen when you are exposed to your triggers.  

There are 3 changes that can happen in your airways when triggered:  

  1. Your airway walls become thicker from swelling. 
  2. Your airways fill up with mucous.  
  3. Your airways feel tight from the muscles on the outside of the airways squeezing. 

These changes in your airways make it hard to breathe. You may feel like you are breathing through a very thin tube.  


Your doctor can tell you if you have asthma.  

Getting a diagnosis of asthma means that your doctor will need to talk to you about your medical history. This will include your symptoms, when you get symptoms and how you treat them. Your doctor might also ask you to have a lung function test such as spirometry.  

Asthma affects people of all ages and is common in both kids and adults.  

It’s not something you can grow out of, and just because you don’t currently have any symptoms doesn’t mean that it’s gone. You can be diagnosed with asthma for the first time at any age or stage of life.