Definition and Etiology

The word 'asthma' originates from an ancient Greek word meaning panting. It is a chronic obstructive disease characterized by tracheobronchial hyperreac-tivity leading to paroxysmal airway narrowing, which may reverse spontaneously or as a result of treatment. The smooth muscle surrounding the bronchi has an abnormally increased reaction to stimuli. Specific bronchial stimuli include inhaled allergens (e.g., house-dust mite, pollen, and moulds). Nonspecific bronchial stimuli include upper respiratory tract infections, cold air, exercise, cigarette smoke, excitement, emotional stress, and chemical irritants. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications provoke asthma in some patients.

Coping with Asthma

Coping with Asthma

If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.

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