How Is the Respiratory System Affected by Asthma?

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The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute lists inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs as asthma's primary effects on the respiratory system. The airways in people with asthma are swollen and easily affected by inhaled contaminants. Exposure to contaminants causes the airways to further constrict and swell, and cells in the airways produce excess mucus which exacerbates airway narrowing. These events trigger the symptoms of asthma.