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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2 Suppl 2):S95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.10.047.

Asthma: clinical expression and molecular mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wis., USA. rfl@medicine.wisc.edu

Abstract

Asthma is a complex disorder that displays heterogeneity and variability in its clinical expression both acutely and chronically. This heterogeneity is influenced by multiple factors including age, sex, socioeconomic status, race and/or ethnicity, and gene by environment interactions. Presently, no precise physiologic, immunologic, or histologic characteristics can be used to definitively make a diagnosis of asthma, and therefore the diagnosis is often made on a clinical basis related to symptom patterns (airways obstruction and hyperresponsiveness) and responses to therapy (partial or complete reversibility) over time. Although current treatment modalities are capable of producing control of symptoms and improvements in pulmonary function in the majority of patients, acute and often severe exacerbations still occur and contribute significantly to both the morbidity and mortality of asthma in all age groups. This review will highlight some of the important clinical features of asthma and emphasize recent advances in both pathophysiology and treatment.

Copyright 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20176271
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2853245
Free PMC Article

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