Atopy - A sensitivity to particular substances in the environment called allergens.
Airway Remodeling - Permanent changes in airways caused by long-term inflammation.
Bronchoconstriction (Bronchospasm) - A term that refers to the tightening of muscles around the airways making them narrow.
Controller medicines - Medicine that prevents or reduces the frequency and severity of asthma episodes, taken daily. Also known as maintenance medication.
Exacerbations - Any worsening of asthma condition. Onset can be acute and sudden, or gradual over several days. "Exacerbation" replaces the words "attack" and/or "episode."
Histamine - Histamine is a chemical present in cells throughout the body that is released during an allergic reaction. This allergic reaction can be a stimulus of asthma.
Hyperresponsive - The airways of a person with asthma are very sensitive and are more likely to constrict after exposure to irritants or triggers.
Inflammation - A term that refers to the swelling and irritation in the airways of your lungs. Airway inflammation may always be there, even when you are not having symptoms.
Morbidity - The incidence or prevalence of a disease in a population.
Mortality Rate - The number of deaths in a population per year divided by the local population.
Methocholine - A type of chemical used in challenge testing in spirometry. Everybody's airways respond to it, but the airways of a person with asthma respond much more and at lower doses.
Peak flow monitoring - A portable hand-held device used to measure how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. From this an asthmatic can determine asthma severity.
Prevalence - The number of existing cases of disease in a population.
Quick relief (rescue) medications - Asthma medication that helps provide immediate relief of sudden asthma symptoms and episodes such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Spirometry - A painless breathing test that measures air volume and flow rate of the lungs. This test is a diagnosis tool for asthma in an individual (age appropriate).
Triggers- Irritants that can make your asthma worse, such as dust, pollen, and smoke.
Last Updated September 27, 2007