Topics Discussed: asthma; pulmonology and respiratory medicine.
Sections: Clinical Presentation, Laboratory and Radiographic Findings, Differential Diagnosis, Treatment, Disposition/Outcome, References.
Excerpt:"The major mechanisms thought to contribute to the pathophysiology of asthma are increased airway responsiveness, inflammation, mucus production, and submucosal edema. Airway responsiveness is defined as the ease with which airways narrow in response to various nonallergic stimuli. These stimuli include inhaled pharmacologic agents, such as histamine and methacholine, and physical stimuli, such as exercise. The level of airway responsiveness is reported to correlate with the severity of asthma symptoms and medication requirements. The critical role of airway inflammation in both the development of obstruction and the degree of hyperresponsiveness has been appreciated only recently. Pathologic specimens from patients demonstrate inflammation of the airways even in the mildest forms of the disease. Increased mucus production and submucosal edema add to the obstruction that occurs secondary to bronchospasm and inflammation...."
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