What is asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease characterized by reversible airway obstruction, airway inflammation and increased airway responsiveness to stimuli.

How common is asthma?

The Centers for Disease Control indicates an increase in prevalence from 1982-1992 of 42%. From 1980 to 1993 asthma accounted for 3850 deaths in patients 0-24 years old. Also, hospitalizations increased in that same time period by 28%.

How is the diagnosis of asthma determined?

Symptoms of asthma include cough, with or without mucus expectoration, chest tightness, and hyperventilation. Spirometry or pulmonary function tests are used to measure peak expiratory flow (PEF) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1).

How is asthma treated?

The treatment of asthma varies according to the severity of the disease. Treatment usually requires bronchodilator therapy and inhaled corticosteroid therapy.