asthma


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asthma

(ăz`mə, ăs`–), chronic inflammatory respiratory disease characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest. A cough producing sticky mucus is symptomatic. The symptoms often appear to be caused by the body's reaction to a trigger such as an allergen (commonly pollen, house dust, animal dander: see allergyallergy,
hypersensitive reaction of the body tissues of certain individuals to certain substances that, in similar amounts and circumstances, are innocuous to other persons. Allergens, or allergy-causing substances, can be airborne substances (e.g.
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), certain drugs, an irritant (such as cigarette smoke or workplace chemicals), exercise, or emotional stress. These triggers can cause the asthmatic's lungslungs,
elastic organs used for breathing in vertebrate animals, excluding most fish, which use gills, and a few amphibian species that respire through the skin. The word is sometimes applied to the respiratory apparatus of lower animals.
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 to release chemicals that create inflammation of the bronchial lining, constriction, and bronchial spasms. If the effect on the bronchi becomes severe enough to impede exhalation, carbon dioxide can build up in the lungs and lead to unconsciousness and death. Following a steady 30-year decline, asthma deaths in the United States, especially among poor, inner-city blacks and among the elderly, began to rise from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. At the same time, the incidence of asthma also increased, both nationally and worldwide.

There is no cure for asthma. Although the disease may go through a period of quiescence, it appears that childhood asthmatics do not outgrow the disease as previously believed. Treatment includes inhaled or oral steroids or bronchodilators (albuterol, theophylline), breathing exercises, and, if possible, the identification and avoidance of triggers.

asthma

[′az·mə]
(medicine)
A pulmonary disease marked by labored breathing, wheezing, and coughing; cause may be emotional stress, chemical irritation, or exposure to an allergen.

asthma

a respiratory disorder, often of allergic origin, characterized by difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and a sense of constriction in the chest
References in periodicals archive ?
It may be mentioned here that World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK said asthma training was not given the priority it deserved despite the fact that asthma hospitalised someone every seven minutes.
Asthma prevalence is highest among blacks, followed by whites and Hispanics.
Every person with asthma should have a written asthma action plan which helps them deal with worsening symptoms and reminds them what to do in an emergency.
Several significant factors contributed to Memphis' #1 spot this year such as poor air quality, inadequate public smoking bans, high reliance on asthma medications and many emergency room visits for asthma.
According to the EPR3, the long-term management of asthma entails the following components: assessing and monitoring asthma severity and asthma control, education for a partnership in care, control of environmental factors and comorbid conditions that affect asthma, and pharmacologic intervention.
This finding suggests that aspirin use cuts asthma incidence by 22 percent, Kurth's team reports in the Jan.
Asthma is a unique and critical issue for racial and ethnic minorities living within urban inner cities as they suffer disproportionately high morbidity and mortality risks (Grant, Alp, & Weiss, 1999).
Between 1980 and 1996, the number of asthma cases doubled in the United States.
and b) What research is needed to improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to the induction of asthma and to improve our ability to manage this problem in the future?
Researchers are finding stronger links between asthma and air pollution, and recent Southern California studies have found higher rates of asthma among children who exercise more in smoggy air and among children who live near freeways.
But perhaps the most disturbing statistic has to do with the growing prevalence of allergies and asthma.