In simple terms asthma refers to increased responsiveness of lower airways to multiple stimuli. It can be acute when it lasts for a short period or chronic when it lasts for days. It can be a mild attack or severe, life threatening one.
Causes of Asthama
The basic abnormality causing asthma is the hyper responsive reaction of the body to specific and non-specific stimuli. Some can develop asthma after a bout of respiratory infection precipitating an underlying condition.
Others might experience worsening of symptoms on exercising, exposure to cold air or due to occupational stimuli. Also in the list of causes are viral infection and emotional stress.
Diagnosis of Asthama
Pulmonary function tests (lung function tests) are helpful in judging severity of airway obstruction.
Arterial blood gas analysis shows decreased oxygen concentration in blood.
Blood analysis shows eosinophilia (abnormal increase in number of certain specific type of blood cells called eosinophils).
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