Asthma FAQ Glossary of Terms

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

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

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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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Allergy shots: See Allergy desensitization.

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

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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.

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

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

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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 illness: An illness that lasts 3 months or more.

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

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Circadian: Refers to events occurring within the span of a full 24-hour day, as in a circa...

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

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

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Cortisol: A metabolite of the primary stress hormone cortisone. Cortisol is an essential f...

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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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Critical care: The specialized care of patients whose conditions are life-threatening and ...

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Curable: Amenable to a cure, capable of being cured, to being healed and made well. From ...

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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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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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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Exacerbation: A worsening. In medicine, exacerbation may refer to an increase in the sever...

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

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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

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

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Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other orga...

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

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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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.

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Immunology: The study of all aspects of the immune system, including its structure and fun...

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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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Internal medicine: The medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment ...

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

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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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Meditation: A typically self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind....

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

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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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.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Nasal: Having to do with the nose.

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

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

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

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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Pollen: Small, light, dry protein particles from trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds that m...

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Pollen count: The number of pollen grains landing on a given area during a specified time....

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

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Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulmonary medicine: The branch of medicine that deals with the causes, diagnosis, preventi...

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

Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

Respiratory therapy: Exercises and treatments that help patients recover lung function, su...

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Rhinitis: Irritation of the nose.

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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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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

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Sinus: 1. An air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decr...

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

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

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

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

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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

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Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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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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Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered ...

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

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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

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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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