asthma
ASTHMA
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways in the lungs of children and adults.
The patient usually complains of shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing with wheezing.
Goals of treatment are effective symptom control with minimal or no exacerbations, minimal or no nocturnal and daytime symptoms, no limitations on activities, minimal or no need for reliever treatment, and minimal adverse effects of medication.

Definition

  • Defined as a heterogeneous disease characterized by chronic airway inflammation that results in recurrent episodes of wheeze, shortness of breath (SOB), chest tightness &/or cough that vary over time & in intensity, with variable expiratory airflow limitation

Signs and Symptoms

  • Symptoms are usually associated with airflow obstruction; which is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment
  • These symptoms tend to be >1 type of respiratory symptom, intermittent, variable, worse at night or upon waking, & provoked by triggers, eg exercise, allergens, weather changes, viral infections

Risk Factors

  • Asthma phenotypes (clusters of asthma characteristics) differ in clinical manifestations, pathophysiology & demographic location of the patient
    • Allergic asthma: Present in childhood, with a positive family history of asthma, & previous history of allergy such as eczema, food allergy, allergic rhinitis, etc
    • Non-allergic asthma: Also called adult-onset; asthma presenting & diagnosed for the 1st time in adult years
    • Asthma with fixed airflow limitation: Airway wall remodeling due to chronic airway inflammation causing irreversible airflow obstruction
    • Asthma with obesity: Prevalence of symptomatic asthma is increased in those suffering from obesity
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