asthma

Cultural Dictionary
asthma [(az-muh)]

A chronic disease of the respiratory system, characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of difficult breathing, wheezing, and coughing. During an attack, the bronchial tubes go into spasms, becoming narrower and less able to move air into the lungs. Various substances to which the sufferer has an allergy, such as animal hair, dust, pollen, or certain foods, can trigger an attack.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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