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 ?
His death was originally treated as suspicious but following a post-mortem, an asthma attack was deemed cause of death.
We are not treating the death as suspicious and believe the death was natural causes, possibly an asthma attack," he said.
When 1-year-old London Mitchell suffered an asthma attack last year, emergency-room doctors helped her through the crisis but didn't tell her mother, Loretta, how to prevent another one.
Often, it is the asthma attack itself that brings on the stress.
Det Sgt Ed Drury, of Telford Police, said: 'It seems the asthma attack was brought on by the fall.
Identify options if your plans fall through due to an asthma attack.
This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack.
Henry Ford researchers have said that this is the first time that asthma medication use has been tracked closely over time and related to the likelihood of severe asthma attacks.
Sources said an asthma attack a decade ago almost killed him.
Erica Evans, asthma nurse specialist, said: "Someone dies of an asthma attack every six hours in the UK and yet 90 per cent of these deaths are preventable.
A group of pupils took part in a New Year's fundraising venture in memory of a young friend who suffered a fatal asthma attack.