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The word asthma is derived from a Greek word meaning difficulty in breathing. The clinical expression of asthma varies from a mild intermittent wheeze or cough to severe chronic obstruction that can restrict normal activity. Acute asthma attacks are triggered by a variety of stimuli, including exposure to allergens or cold air, exercise, and upper respiratory tract infections. Recently, a number of genetic polymorphisms have been associated with an increased risk of developing asthma. Thus, genetic factors probably contribute to the exaggerated response of the asthmatic airway to various environmental challenges. The most severe exacerbation of asthma, status asthmaticus, is a life-threatening condition that requires hospitalization and must be treated aggressively. Unlike most exacerbations of the disease, status asthmaticus is by definition unresponsive to standard therapy.

The most important outcomes for successful therapy of asthma are as follows:

• Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms

• Maintain (near) normal pulmonary function

• Maintain normal activity levels

• Prevent recurrent exacerbations of asthma and minimize the need for emergency department visits or hospitalizations

• Provide optimal pharmacotherapy with minimal or no adverse effects

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Dealing With Asthma Naturally

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