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 ?
5 Only your doctor can help you with your asthma Some people may think only their GP or asthma nurse can help them with their condition but you could also turn to your pharmacist for advice - and the great thing is you don't need an appointment.
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.
If asthma is well managed, then people living with it can live life normally
According to the World Health Organization 235 million people suffer from asthma, and asthma is the most common chronic disease among children.
It is also launching the Get It Off Your Chest campaign and asking people with asthma to speak out about how asthma makes them feel and affects their lives by sharing their stories online at: asthma.
About 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma in their lifetimes, a 2007 CDC study showed, with 12.
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.
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During the six-year follow-up period, about 50 percent of the patients experienced another asthma episode (considered persistent asthma), and 18 percent needed acute health care, such as hospitalization and or an emergency department visit for asthma.
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).
Fact Sheet: Addressing Asthma in School This fact sheet-provides information on children with asthma, asthma prevalence data, and a summary of CDC's 6 strategies for addressing asthma within a coordinated school health program, http://www.