Asthma -- Symptoms, Causes and Clinical Profile

6 year ago, by Jane Abigail in HealthGeneral Health • 2281 views

What is Asthma?

Asthma is defined as partial obstruction of airflow in the intrathoracic airways that varies in severity over short periods of time, either spontaneously or as a result of treatment. The diagnosis of Asthma depends upon showing these changes objectively using lung function tests.

Clinical Features

Patients suffering from Asthma exhibit virtually identical symptoms to those suffering from airflow limitation caused by chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Wheezing attacks and episodic shortness of breath are most universal. There is an initial tendency for symptoms to be worst during the night. Cough is a frequent symptom which sometimes predominates and is often misdiagnosed as being due to bronchitis. Nocturnal cough can be a presenting feature. There is a tremendous variation in the frequency and duration of the attacks. Some patients may have only one-two attacks a year which last for a few weeks. Some patients can have chronic symptoms.

Prognosis

Although Asthma often improves in children as they reach their teens, it is now realized that the disease frequently returns in second, third and fourth decades. Overall, in adults, there is a tendency for Asthma to improve with age.

Asthma dictionary

  • Wheeze - A whistling sound made in breathing; the breath with difficulty and noisily.
  • Wheezing - A whistling, squeaking, musical or puffing sound made by air passing through the fauces, glottis, or narrowed tracheobronchial airways in difficult breathing.
  • Airflow - The total or partial amount of the air that passes through the upper respiratory tract and lungs in a special time.
  • Air trapping - Slow or incomplete emptying of air from all or part of a lung on expiration; implies obstruction of regional airways or emphysema.
  • Flowmeter - An apparatus measuring the rate of airflow
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