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Asthma Glossary

Terms used to explain Asthma can sometimes be confusing. To help you fully understand the articles and features related to this very important health topic, we have compiled a glossary of terms that can help.

Allergen

al*ler*gen
Pronunciation: \ˈal-ər-jən\
Function: noun
1: a substance that induces allergy <inhaled allergens> <a suspected food allergen>

Antihistamine

1an*ti*his*ta*mine
Pronunciation: \ˌant-i-ˈhis-tə-ˌmēn, ˌan-ˌtī-, -mən\


Function: adjective
: tending to block or counteract the physiological action of histamine <human blood lacks antihistamine[1] activity>

Bronchial Tube

bronchial tube
Function: noun
: a primary bronchus; also: any of its branches

Corticosteroid

cor*ti*co*ste*roid
Pronunciation: \ˌkort-i-kō-ˈsti(ə)r-ˌoid also -ˈste(ə)r-\



Function: noun
: any of various adrenal-cortex steroids (as corticosterone, cortisone, and aldosterone) that are divided on the basis of their major biological activity into glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids

Dander

dan*der
Pronunciation: \ˈdan-dər\


Function: noun
: see: dandruff; specif: minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may act as allergens

Dust Mite

dust mite
Function: noun
: any of various mites (esp. family Pyroglyphidae) implicated in human allergic reactions to dust; esp: see: house-dust mite

Exhalation

ex*ha*la*tion
Pronunciation: \ˌeks-(h)ə-ˈlā-shən\


Function: noun

1: the action of forcing air out of the lungs
2: something (as the breath) that is exhaled or given off

Histamine

his*ta*mine
Pronunciation: \ˈhis-tə-ˌmēn, -mən\


Function: noun
: a compound C5H9N3 esp. of mammalian tissues that causes dilatation of capillaries, contraction of smooth muscle, and stimulation of gastric acid secretion, that is released during allergic reactions, and that is formed by decarboxylation of histidine

Inhaler

in*hal*er
Pronunciation: \in-ˈhā-lər\
Function: noun
1: a device by means of which usu. medicinal material is inhaled compare inhalator

Learn more: Using Inhalers
Irritant

1ir*ri*tant
Pronunciation: \ˈir-ə-tənt\


Function: adjective
: causing irritation; specif: tending to produce inflammation

Mucus

mu*cus
Pronunciation: \ˈmyü-kəs\



Function: noun
: a viscid slippery secretion that is usu. rich in mucins and is produced by mucous membranes which it moistens and protects

Nebulizer

neb*u*liz*er
Function: noun
: see: atomizer; specif: an atomizer equipped to produce an extremely fine spray for deep penetration of the lungs

Peak Flow Meter

peak flow meter
Pronunciation: \ˌpēk-ˈflō-\


Function: noun
: a device that measures the maximum rate of air flow out of the lungs during forced expiration and that is used esp. for monitoring lung capacity of individuals with asthma (as to indicate bronchial narrowing) —called also peak expiratory flow meter

Pollen

pol*len
Pronunciation: \ˈpäl-ən\


Function: noun
: a mass of male spores in a seed plant appearing usu. as a fine dust

Prednisone

pred*ni*sone
Pronunciation: \ˈpred-nə-ˌsōn also -ˌzōn\


Function: noun
: a glucocorticoid C21H26O5 that is a dehydrogenated analog of cortisone and is used as an anti-inflammatory agent, as an antineoplastic agent, and as an immunosuppressant

Sputum

spu*tum
Pronunciation: \ˈsp(y)üt-əm\


Function: noun
pl spu*ta
Pronunciation: \-ə\
: the matter discharged from the air passages in diseases of the lungs, bronchi, or upper respiratory tract that contains mucus and often pus, blood, fibrin, or bacterial products

Steroid

ste*roid
Pronunciation: \ˈsti(ə)r-ˌoid also ˈste(ə)r-\



Function: noun
: any of numerous natural or synthetic compounds containing a 17-carbon 4-ring system and including the sterols and various hormones and glycosides see anabolic steroid

Theophylline

the*oph*yl*line
Pronunciation: \thē-ˈäf-ə-lən\


Function: noun
: a feebly basic bitter crystalline compound C7H8N4O2 that is present in small amounts in tea but is prepared chiefly by synthesis, that is isomeric with theobromine, and that is used in medicine often in the form of derivatives or in combination with other drugs esp. as a bronchodilator to relieve or prevent symptoms of asthma and bronchospasm associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema

Wheeze

1wheeze
Pronunciation: \ˈhwēz, ˈwēz\



Function: intransitive verb
wheezed
wheez*ing
: to breathe with difficulty usu. with a whistling sound

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© 2011 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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Asthma is more common in boys than girls.