Asthma Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Asthma article.

Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Adrenaline: A stress hormone produced within the adrenal gland that quickens the heart bea...

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Airway: The path that air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are...

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Airway obstruction: Partial or complete blockage of the breathing passages to the lungs. C...

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Allergen: A substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Common allergens include ragwee...

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Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic indiv...

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Allergic rhinitis: Medical term for hay fever, an allergic reaction that mimics a chronic ...

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Allergy: A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system ...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Anticholinergic: Opposing the actions of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Anticholinerg...

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Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart to the far...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narro...

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Asthmatic: 1. Pertaining to asthma as, for example, asthmatic bronchitis.
...

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Atopic: A predisposition toward developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions. At...

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Atopy: The genetic tendency to develop the classic allergic diseases -- atopic dermatitis,...

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Beta-agonist: A bronchodilator medicine that opens the airways by relaxing the muscles aro...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Bronchi: The plural of bronchus.

Bronchiolitis: Inflammation of the bronchioles, usually due to viral infections.

Bronchitis: Inflammation and swelling of the bronchi. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.

Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Carbon dioxide: A gas which is the byproduct of cellular metabolism and which collects in ...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest X-ray: A type of X-ray commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs. A chest X...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic disease: A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting...

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPD. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bron...

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COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bron...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Dander: Tiny scales shed from human or animal skin or hair. Dander floats in the air, sett...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dilating: The widening and opening of an opening, such as the cervix or esophagus. For exa...

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Dyspnea: Difficult or labored breathing; shortness of breath. Dyspnea is a sign of serious...

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Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy tex...

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Eczema: A particular type of inflammatory reaction of the skin in which there are typicall...

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Emphysema: 1) A lung condition featuring an abnormal accumulation of air in the lung's ma...

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Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community...

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Epinephrine: A substance produced by the medulla (inside) of the adrenal gland. The name e...

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Exercise-induced asthma: Asthma triggered by vigorous physical activity. It primarily affe...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degr...

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Fingernail: A fingernail is produced by living skin cells in the finger. A fingernail cons...

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Flu: Short for influenza. The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract w...

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Gastroesophageal: Pertaining to both the stomach and the esophagus, as in the gastroesopha...

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Gastroesophageal reflux: The return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus This fr...

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Hay fever: A seasonal allergy to airborne particles characterized by itchy eyes, runny nos...

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Immunoglobulin: A protein produced by plasma cells and lymphocytes and characteristic of t...

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Immunoglobulin E: A class of immunoglobulins that includes the antibodies that are importa...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Inflammatory response: A fundamental type of response by the body to disease and injury, a...

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Leukotriene: One of a group of chemicals produced by the body that accompanies inflammatio...

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Lips: Aside from the lips of the mouth, there are two pairs of lips at the entrance to the...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may ...

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Menstrual: Pertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrua...

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Menstrual cycle: The monthly cycle of changes in the ovaries and the lining of the uteru...

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Menstruation: The periodic blood that flows as a discharge from the uterus. Also called me...

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Metered dose inhaler: See: Metered-dose inhaler.

Mold: One of a large group of fungi that can proliferate on food or in moist areas. Househ...

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Mucous: Pertaining to mucus, a thick fluid produced by the lining of some tissues of the b...

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Mucus: A thick fluid that is produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

Nebulizer: A device for administering a medication by spraying a fine mist. Also known as ...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Pneumothorax: Free air in the chest outside the lung. Pneumothorax can occur spontaneously...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Probe: (1) In surgery, a probe is a slender flexible rod with a blunt end used to e...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulse: The rhythmic dilation of an artery that results from beating of the heart. Pulse is...

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Rad: Radiation absorbed dose, a measurement for a dose of ionizing radiation.

Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

Regimen: A plan or a regulated course, such as a diet, exercise, or treatment, that is des...

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Resistance: Opposition to something, or the ability to withstand something. For example, s...

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Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

Respiratory therapist: A person who has graduated from an approved respiratory therapist p...

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Rhinitis: Irritation of the nose.

Rib: One of the 12 paired arches of bone that form the skeletal structure of the chest wal...

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Rib cage: The structure formed by the thoracic vertebrae and ribs, the sternum (breastbone...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Sinusitis: Inflammation of the lining membrane in any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Spirometry: A test of the air capacity of the lung. The test utilizes a machine called a s...

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Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon struc...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Trigger: Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predispose...

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Upper respiratory infection: An infection of the upper part of the respiratory system whic...

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Ventilator: A machine that mechanically assists a patient in the exchange of oxygen and ca...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Wheezing: A whistling noise in the chest during breathing. Wheezing occurs when the airway...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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