Asthma

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Asthma (from the Greek άσθμα, ásthma, "panting") is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm.[1] Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.[2]

Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist (such as salbutamol).[3] Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens[4] and irritants, and by inhaling corticosteroids.[5] Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids and thus less preferred.[6]

The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s. As of 2009, 300 million people were affected worldwide.[7] In 2009 asthma caused 250,000 deaths globally.[7] Despite this, with proper control of asthma with step down therapy, prognosis is generally good.

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