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Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath
Medicines such as inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonists may be used to treat acute attacks.Attacks can also be prevented by avoiding triggering factors such as allergens or rapid temperature changes and through drug treatment such as inhaled corticosteroids.[ Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids, but have fewer side effects. The monoclonal antibody omalizumab is sometimes effective.

It affects 7% of the population of the United States,[9] 6.5% of British people and a total of 300 million worldwide. Asthma causes 4,000 deaths a year in the United States. Prognosis . is good with treatment.

Although asthma is a chronic obstructive condition, it is not considered as a part of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as this term refers specifically to combinations of bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Unlike these diseases, the airway obstruction in asthma is usually reversible; however, if left untreated, asthma can result in chronic inflammation of the lungs and irreversible obstruction.. In contrast to emphysema, asthma affects the bronchi, not the alveoli.[11] Public attention in the developed world has increased recently because of its rapidly increasing prevalence, affecting up to one quarter of urban children

Because of the spectrum of severity among asthma patients, some people with asthma only rarely experience symptoms, usually in response to triggers, where as other more severe cases may have marked airflow obstruction at all times.

Asthma exists in two states: the steady-state of chronic asthma, and the acute state of an acute asthma exacerbation. The symptoms are different depending on what state the patient is in.

Common symptoms of asthma in a steady-state include: nighttime coughing, shortness of breath with exertion but no dyspnea at rest, a chronic ‘throat-clearing’ type cough, and complaints of a tight feeling in the chest. Severity often correlates to an increase in symptoms. Symptoms can worsen gradually and rather insidiously, up to the point of an acute exacerbation of asthma. It is a common misconception that all people with asthma wheeze-some never wheeze, and their disease may be confused with another chronic obstructive pulmonary disease such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Asthma is caused by environmental and genetic factors,[24] which can influence how severe asthma is and how well it responds to medication.[25] Some environmental and genetic factors have been confirmed by further research, while others have not. Underlying both environmental and genetic factors is the role of the upper airway in recognizing the perceived dangers and protecting the more vulnerable lungs by shutting down the airway. Margie Profet has argued[26] that allergens look to our immune systems like significant threats. Asthma, in this view, is seen as an evolutionary defense. This view also suggests that removing or reducing airborne pollutants should be successful at reducing the problem.