Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

What is Asthma?
  • Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways.
  • Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and/or coughing (especially night time cough).
  • The severity of an asthma episode can range from mild to life-threatening and last from minutes to days.
  • Airflow limitation in asthma is reversible.
  • The goal of asthma management is to control or prevent inflammation, and to provide quick relief of symptoms by relaxing the muscles of the airway.