Author: theasthmacures helping those with asthma. Can asthma be cured completely? Asthma cannot be cured completely, no, but it can be controlled to the point that the symptoms become negligible. As a chronic and lasting condition, asthma is not curable. It is highly treatable, though, so long as a patient has professional support, WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT FOREVER.

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Asthma Glossary of Terms

a substance (such as a food or pollen) that your body perceives as dangerous
and can cause an allergic reaction.

an exaggerated response to a substance or condition produced by the release of
histamine or histamine-like substances by affected cells.

thin-walled, small sacs located at the ends of the smallest airways in the
lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.

medication used to treat infection caused by bacteria. Antibiotics do not
protect against viruses and do not prevent the common cold.

(also called cholinergic blockers or "maintenance" bronchodilators).
This type of medicine relaxes the muscle bands that tighten around the airways.
This action opens the airways, letting more air out of the lungs to improve breathing.
Anticholinergics also help clear mucus from the lungs.

medication that stops the action of histamine, which causes symptoms of allergy
such as itching and swelling.

medication that reduces inflammation (swelling in the airway and mucus

Asthma: a disease of the
airways or branches of the lung (bronchial tubes) that carry air in and out of
the lungs. Asthma causes the airways to narrow, the lining of the airways to
swell and the cells that line the airways to produce more mucus. These changes
make breathing difficult and cause a feeling of not getting enough air into the
lungs. Common symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest
tightness, and excess mucus production.

Bacteria: infectious
organisms that may cause sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia.

Beta2-agonists: a
bronchodilator medication that opens the airways of the lung by relaxing the
muscles around the airways that have tightened (bronchospasm). These medications
may be short acting (quick relief) or long acting (control) medications. Short
acting beta2 agonists are the drugs used to relieve asthma symptoms when they

Breath sounds: lung
sounds heard through a stethoscope.

Breathing rate: the
number of breaths per minute.

Bronchial tubes:
airways in the lung that branch from the trachea (windpipe).

Bronchioles: the
smallest branches of the airways in the lungs. They connect to the alveoli (air

Bronchodilator: a
drug that relaxes the muscle bands that tighten around the airways in asthma.
Bronchodilators can also help clear mucus from the lungs.

Bronchospasm: the
tightening of the muscle bands that surround the airways, causing the airways
to narrow.

Carbon dioxide: a
colorless, odorless gas that is formed in the tissues and is delivered to the
lungs to be exhaled.

Chronic disease: a
disease that can be controlled, but not cured.

Cilia: hair-like structures
that line the airways in the lungs and help to clean out the airways.

Clinical trials:
research programs conducted with patients to evaluate a new medical treatment,
drug, or device. The purpose of clinical trials is to find new and improved
methods of treating different diseases and special conditions.

Contraindication: a
reason not to use a course of treatment or medication.

Dander, animal: tiny
scales shed from animal skin or hair. Dander floats in the air, settles on
surfaces and is a major part of household dust. Cat dander is a classic cause
of allergic reactions.

medication that shrinks swollen nasal tissues to relieve symptoms of nasal
swelling, congestion, and mucus secretion.

Dehydration: excessive
loss of water.

Diaphragm: the major
muscle of breathing, located at the base of the lungs.

Dry powder
inhaler (DPI): a device for inhaling respiratory medications that come in
powder form.

Dust mites: a common
trigger for allergies.

Dyspnea: shortness of


induced asthma: asthma that is made worse when exercising

Exhalation: breathing air
out of the lungs

(HEPA) high-efficiency
particulate air filter: a filter that removes particles in the air by forcing
it through screens containing microscopic pores.

Histamine: a naturally
occurring substance that is released by the immune system after being exposed
to an allergen. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells located in the nose and
lungs release histamine. Histamine then attaches to receptors on nearby blood
vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate). Histamine also binds to other
receptors located in nasal tissues, causing redness, swelling, itching, and
changes in the secretions.

Holding chamber: see

Humidification: the
act of moisturizing the air with molecules of water.

Inhaler (HFA): small aerosol canister in a plastic container that releases a
mist of medication when pressed down from the top. This drug can be breathed
into the airways. Many asthma medications are taken using an HFA, which was
formerly called a "metered dose inhaler."

excessive rate and depth of breathing.

Immune system: the
body's defense system that protects us against infections and foreign

Indication: reason to

Inflammation: a
response in the body that may include swelling and redness.

Inhaler: See
Hydrofluoroalkane Inhaler (HFA)

Inhalation: breathing air
into the lungs.

Irritants: things that
bother the nose, throat, or airways when they are inhaled (not an allergen).

modifier: drug that blocks chemicals called leukotrienes in the airways.
Leukotrienes occur naturally in the body and cause tightening of airway muscles
and production of excess mucus and fluid. Leukotriene modifiers work by
blocking leukotrienes and decreasing these reactions. These medications may
also be helpful in improving airflow and reducing some symptoms of chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Medical history: a
list of a person's previous illnesses, present conditions, symptoms,
medications, and health risk factors.

Metered dose
inhaler (MDI): See Hydrofluoroalkane Inhaler (HFA)

Mold: parasitic, microscopic
fungi (like those in the genus Penicillium that produce penicillin) with spores
that float in the air like pollen. Mold is a common trigger for allergies and
can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as in the
outdoor environment in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch, or under mushrooms.

Monitoring: keeping track

Mucus: a material produced by
glands in the airways, nose, and sinuses. Mucus cleans and protects certain
parts of the body such as the lungs.

Nasal spray: medication
used to help prevent and treat nasal congestion or nasal allergy symptoms.
Available by prescription or over-the-counter in decongestant, corticosteroid,
or salt-water solution form.

Nebulizer: a machine that
changes liquid medicine into fine droplets (in aerosol or mist form) that are
inhaled through a mouthpiece or mask. Nebulizers can be used to deliver
bronchodilator (airway-opening) drugs such as albuterol and Atrovent, as well
as anti-inflammatory or steroid medicines (Pulmicort Respules).
A nebulizer may be used instead of a metered dose inhaler (MDI). It is powered
by a compressed air machine and plugs into an electrical outlet.

anti-inflammatory medication that is not a steroid. Also see steroid.

Oxygen: the essential element
in the respiration process to sustain life. This colorless, odorless gas makes
up about 21% of the air.

Expiratory flow rate: a test used to measure how fast air can be exhaled from
the lungs.

Peak flow meter: a
small hand-held device that measures how fast air comes out of the lungs when a
person exhales forcefully. This measurement is called a peak expiratory flow
(PEF) and is measured in liters per minute (lpm). A person's PEF may drop hours
or even days before asthma symptoms are noticeable. Readings from the meter can
help the patient recognize early changes that may be signs of worsening asthma.
A peak flow meter can also help the patient learn what trigger their symptoms
and understand what symptoms indicate that emergency care is needed. Peak flow
readings also help the doctor decide when to stop or add medications.

best peak expiratory flow (PEF): the highest peak flow number a person can
achieve when symptoms are under good control. The personal best PEF is the
number to which all other peak flow readings will be compared. In children,
peak expiratory flow rates are based on how tall the child is. Therefore, the
personal best peak expiratory flow will change as growth occurs. A child's
personal best peak expiratory flow should be redetermined approximately every 6
months or when a growth spurt has occurred.

Pneumonia: an infection of
the lung that can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or a fungus..

Pollen: a fine, powdery
substance released by plants and trees; an allergen.

Pollen and
mold counts: a measure of the amount of allergens in
the air. The counts are usually reported for mold spores and three types of
pollen: grasses, trees, and weeds. The count is reported as grains per cubic
meter of air and is translated into a corresponding level: absent, low, medium,
or high.

Productive cough: a
"wet" cough that may involve coughing up mucus.

Puffer: another term for
inhaler or metered dose inhaler.

function tests (PFTS): a test or series of tests that measure many aspects of
lung function and capacity; also referred to as lung function tests.

Pulse oximetry: a
test in which a device that clips on the finger measures the oxygen level in
the blood.

Respiration: the process
of breathing which includes the exchange of gases in the blood (oxygen and
carbon dioxide), the taking in and processing of oxygen, and the delivery of
carbon dioxide to the lungs for removal. See inhalation and exhalation.

Sinuses: air pockets inside
the bones of the head and face that link to the nose.

Spacer: a chamber that is
used with a metered dose inhaler to help the medication get into the airways
better. Spacers also make metered dose inhalers easier to use; spacers are
sometimes called "holding chambers."

Spirometry: a basic
pulmonary function test that measures how much and how fast air moves out of
the lungs.

Sputum: mucus or phlegm.

Steroid: medication that
reduces swelling and inflammation. Comes in pill, injected, and inhaled forms.
Also called corticosteroid.

Symptom: what someone will
experience as a result of a disease or illness, like pain, cough, or shortness
of breath, for example.

Theophylline: a long-
term control medication that opens the airways, which helps prevent and relieve

Trachea: the main airway
(windpipe) supplying both lungs.

Triggers: things that cause
asthma symptoms to begin or make them worse.

Vaccine: a shot that
protects the body from a specific disease by stimulating the body's own immune

Wheezing: the high-pitched
whistling sound of air moving through narrowed airways.

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