What is Asthma ?
Asthma is a disease of the airways in lungs. The word asthma in Greek means ‘breathless’ or to ‘breath with an open mouth’.
It has been defined as increased reactivity of the respiratory passage to a variety of stimuli leading to widespread narrowing of airways It is usually episodic in nature and reversible on proper medication.
In asthma, the airways (bronchi) are narrowed and inflamed i.e.
- swollen and red
- clogged with thick and sticky mucous secretions.
Thus, asthma is an inflammatory disease, which is characterized by narrowing of the airways (bronchoconstriction) due to the accumulation of secretions and contraction of the muscles in the airways (because of increased reactivity).
Hence the emphasis of the treatment is on long term anti inflammatory (preventer) therapy rather than short term reliever (bronchodilator) therapy.