Asthma

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 allergy), certain drugs, an irritant (such as cigarette smoke or workplace chemicals), exercise, or emotional stress. These triggers can cause the asthmatic's lungs 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.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Asthma: Selected full-text books and articles

Understanding Asthma By Phil Lieberman University Press of Mississippi, 1999
Asthma: Stop Suffering, Start Living By M. Eric Gershwin; E. L. Klingelhofer Perseus Books, 1992 (2nd edition)
Experimental Foundations of Behavioral Medicines: Conditioning Approaches By Robert Ader; Herbert Weiner; Andrew Baum Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Synthesis of Medical and Behavioral Sciences with Respect to Bronchial Asthma"
Quality of Care for Women: A Review of Selected Clinical Conditions and Quality Indicators By Elizabeth A. McGlynn; Eve A. Kerr; Cheryl L. Damberg; Steven M. Asch Rand, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Asthma"
How Exposures to Biologics Influence the Induction and Incidence of Asthma By Zeldin, Darryl C.; Eggleston, Peyton; Chapman, Martin; Piedimonte, Giovanni; Renz, Harard; Peden, David Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, No. 4, April 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Induction of Asthma and the Environment: What We Know and Need to Know By Selgrade, Mary Jane K.; Lemanske, Robert F., Jr.; Gilmour, M. Ian; Neas, Lucas M.; Ward, Marsha D. W.; Henneberger, Paul K.; Weissman, David N.; Hoppin, Jane A.; Dietert, Rodney R.; Sly, Peter D.; Geller, Andrew M.; Enright, Paul L.; Backus, Gillian S.; Bromberg, Philip A.; Germolec, Dori R.; Yeatts, Karin B Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, No. 4, April 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Brief Targeted Review of Susceptibility Factors, Environmental Exposures, Asthma Incidence, and Recommendations for Future Asthma Incidence Research By Yeatts, Karin; Sly, Peter; Shore, Stephanie; Weiss, Scott; Martinez, Fernando; Geller, Andrew; Bromberg, Philip; Enright, Paul; Koren, Hillel; Weissman, David; Selgrade, Mary Jane Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, No. 4, April 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Mosby's Complementary Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach By Lyn W. Freeman; G. Frank Lawlis Mosby, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Hypnosis and Asthma" begins on p. 247
Association of Asthma Symptoms with Peak Particulate Air Pollution and Effect Modification by Anti-Inflammatory Medication Use. (Children's Health Articles) By Delfino, Ralph J.; Zeiger, Robert S.; Seltzer, James M.; Street, Donald H.; McLaren, Christine E Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 10, October 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Effect of Indoor Air Pollution from Biomass Combustion on Prevalence of Asthma in the Elderly. (Research) By Mishra, Vinod Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 111, No. 1, January 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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