Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants, and this is characterized by difficulty in breathing. Asthma is a highly ranked chronic health condition in adults in most western countries, and it is the leading chronic illness of children.
Asthma cannot be cured, but for most patients it can be controlled so that they have only minimal and infrequent symptoms and they can live an active life.
However, there are quite a few illnesses which can mimic the symptoms of asthma, and lead to a misdiagnosis.
For example, vocal cord dysfunction syndrome can mimic an asthma attack.
Usually the problem with making a diagnosis of asthma is making it early enough.
However, sometimes in people who do have true asthma as well, difficulty in breathing can be caused by abnormal movements of the voice box during breathing. This can mimic a severe asthma attack so closely that a correct diagnosis is difficult.
But if this condition is recognised, then treatment will be much more appropriate.
There are quite a few other illnesses which can mimic the symptoms of asthma, though these are all very rare compared to asthma, and much rarer than vocal cord dysfunction