Asthma – epidemiology, risk factors and pathophysiology

Allergic diseases and asthma have become the most common chronic diseases of childhood in developed countries, with increasing prevalence in the last few decades. Asthma is a chronic illness with a strong impact on the patient’s physical, emotional and social aspects of life and it affects the child's family, education and career. The chronic inflammation of the airways in asthma is variable but constant and causes increase in airway hyper-responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Acute exacerbations of asthma can be rapid in onset, severe and even life threatening in the absence of effective treatment. Risk factors involved in the development of asthma and the clinical expression of the disease may be classified as host factors and environmental factors. Unrecognised or inadequately treated chronic inflammation in asthma leads to airway wall remodelling and progressive irreversible loss of lung function in most patients.
Category: Review
Volume: Vol. 50, No 4, october - december 2006
Authors: I. Ivković-Jureković
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