Asthma, from the Greek Άσθμα (ásthma), meaning gasp, is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist (such as salbutamol). Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggering such as allergens and irritants and by using inhaled corticosteroids. Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids and thus less preferred.
As of 2009, 300 million people worldwide were affected by asthma leading to 250,000 deaths per year. Rates have increased significantly over the last 40 years. Prognosis is good with treatment.
|Clinical classification of severity |
|Severity |Symptom frequency |Nighttime symptoms | %FEV1 of predicted |FEV1 Variability |
|Intermittent |2 per month |≥80% |20–30% |
| |but 1 per week |60–80% |>30% |
|Severe persistent |Daily |Frequent |30% |
Asthma is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic), based on whether symptoms are precipitated by allergens (atopic) or not (non-atopic).
While asthma is classified based on severity, at the moment there is no clear method for classifying different subgroups of asthma beyond this system. Within the classifications described above, although the cases of asthma respond to the same treatment differs, thus it is clear... [continues]
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