Asthma is caused by swelling and inflammation of the smallest airways in the lungs. The swelling causes bronchospasm or a narrowing of the small airways. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to allergen proteins, including pollens, mold, dust mite, and animals. They can also be triggered by exercise, respiratory infections, exposure to cold air, or noxious chemicals, including tobacco smoke, having uncontrolled acid reflux, also known as GERD, taking some medications, certain foods, preservatives, or additives. After exposure to an asthma trigger, your smallest airways might narrow, and you might feel a combination of chest tightness, chest pressure, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.
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