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 ?
Confirmed asthmatic patients with associated diseases such as allergic rhinitis and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) were not excluded from the study.
A couple of relatively small studies in asthmatic children are supportive.
If it is assumed that obesity is an independent risk factor for asthma, it is reasonable that obese asthmatics who lose weight should experience respiratory improvement.
Chest tightness was more frequent in asthmatics than in patients with heart disease.
Treating the cells with interferon-B normalised the asthmatic cells' response to rhinovirus infection," said Professor Donna Davies.
He said he was "addicted" to smoking and was unaware that Miss Whitehead was asthmatic until her appraisal.
Pregnancy outcomes in these women were compared with those of 91 asthmatic pregnant women who used only short-acting [beta]-agonists and with 115 nonasthmatic pregnant women.
13) The role of early childhood asthmatic factors in bronchiectasis pathogenesis was emphasized later.
Despite suffering with an asthmatic problem, the 28-year-old Northern Irish midfielder finished clinically on both occasions to give the Tigers a valuable four-point cushion from the Championship relegation zone.
8 parts per billion (ppb) increase in average daily concentrations in ozone, the likelihood of wheezing increased by 41 percent in all the infants and 91 percent in those with asthmatic morns.
Pets are the second most common cause of allergy in the home in the UK and 50 per cent of asthmatic children are allergic to cats.
Sharon Price, a teacher and swimming coach from Pen Y Bryn Primary in Llanrumney, Cardiff, founded the Torfaen Puffins, for asthmatic children, 20 years ago.