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. Asthma affect a vast majority of the population and
causes a lot of problems not only to the patient but also to his family.
Valuable productive hours are lost and this is the leading causes of
industrial absenteeism especially in cases where the disease is an
occupational health hazard.
Hyper responsive reaction of the body to specific and non-specific stimuli is the the basic abnormality causing Asthma. 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. Viral infection and emotional stress are also in the list of causes.
Airborne allergens like dust, pollen, air pollution, sulfites in food, aspirin, certain medication, and respiratory infections all play a part in increasing airway reactivity and increasing the airway inflammation. Non-specific hyperirritability of the respiratory airways is the most common underlying cause in all asthmatics. Airway inflammation is believed to play a fundamental role.