From US Dept of Health and Human Services... (I wonder if they have an alien service?) Their definition is -- Asthma (Az-muh) is a chronic disease that affects your airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.
If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation (IN-fla-MAY-shun) makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating.
When the airways react, they get narrower, and less air flows through to your lung tissue. This causes symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially at night and in the early morning.
Asthma cannot be cured, but most people with asthma can control it so that they have few and infrequent symptoms and can live active lives. (Note: I believe the cause for asthma could be removed and the person will no longer be effected by the problems.)
Compiled by TM Aug 2008 for http://yesasthma.com/