Asthma

Last Updated: April 22, 2019

Definition - What does Asthma mean?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by episodes of inflammation that restrict breathing. The bronchi, or airways, of asthma sufferers are sensitive and react to stimuli such as allergens, air contaminants, physical exertion, hot or cold air, stress, and other factors. Individual asthmatics may not react to the same triggers as another asthmatic. During an asthmatic episode, the sufferer's airways spasm and the tissue of the lungs swell and produce excess mucus. These reactions make it difficult for the person to breathe.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Respiratory illnesses such as colds or flu can worsen the symptoms of asthma.

Asthma may be diagnosed through a combination of procedures including physical examination, a lung function test, or chest and sinus X-rays.

Most individuals are able to manage their asthma through behavioral or environmental modifications or medication. Asthma can be life threatening however. Some asthma suffers must carry emergency medications that must be administered in the event of a severe attack.

WorkplaceTesting explains Asthma

Asthma is one of several types of obstructive airway diseases. These conditions prevent air from freely passing into and out of the lungs because of swelling or other blockage of the airways. In contrast, restrictive airway diseases limit lung capacity by preventing the lungs from fully expending. Because asthma is a chronic condition, individuals diagnosed with the condition must continuously be aware of and manage their symptoms.

Individual asthma suffers experience symptoms of varying degrees of severity. Additionally, each person's asthma trigger(s) may differ. Often asthma is associated with environmental or other allergies.

Asthma that is only triggered by specific stimuli may be categorized according to its trigger. Exercise-induced asthma is one such category and is more likely to occurs when a person exercises in cold and dry conditions. Occupational asthma can occurs when a susceptible individual is exposed to airborne contaminants such as dust or chemical irritants (including perfumes) in the workplace.

Individuals with asthma may need specialized personal protective equipment or may not be medically cleared to work in certain workplace environments. However, each person's limitations will vary with the type and severity of their condition.

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