Asthma is a common disorder that primarily involves the airways. Traditionally, asthma has been considered a disorder of airway smooth muscle mediators and anatomic elements of the airway mucosa. In recent years, the roles of immune mediators, such as leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and platelet-activating factor, and the more traditionally considered roles of histamine and other bronchoconstrictors have been increasingly understood. Although the causes of asthma are separated into allergic and nonallergic ones, considerable crossover is observed in the features of both types of asthma, and treatment varies little between them. While asthma has been considered a disorder of the airways, a number of conditions have a presentation similar to that of bronchial asthma. These conditions originate, often silently, in organ systems other than the lungs, and they either provoke airway responses equivalent to those found in asthma or mimic the clinical findings of asthma.
Bronchial Asthma is a chronic condition involving the respiratory system in which the airways occasionally constrict, become inflamed, and are lined with excessive amounts of mucus, often in response to one or more triggers. This disease is caused by increased responsiveness of the tracheobronchial tree to various stimuli. The result is paroxysmal constriction of the bronchial airways. Bronchial asthma is the more correct name for the common form of asthma. The term 'bronchial' is used to differentiate it from 'cardiac' asthma, which is a separate condition that is caused by the heart failure. These episodes may be triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as an allergen, environmental tobacco smoke, cold or warm air, perfume, pet dander, moist air, exercise or exertion, or emotional stress. In children, the most common triggers are viral illnesses such as those that cause the common cold. This airway narrowing causes symptoms such as... [continues]
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