Adult Asthma

  • Robert LedfordEmail author
Living reference work entry


Asthma is a global disease of varying presentations and complex pathophysiology which contributes to chronic symptom burden, loss of function and productivity, increased healthcare costs from emergency department visits and hospitalization, and severe medical complications including death. An estimated 25 million Americans and 300 million persons worldwide are affected and epidemiologic studies indicate that the prevalence of asthma is increasing. Understanding asthma requires knowledge of: lung function, immunology and hypersensitivity, disease presentation, pulmonary function testing, treatment mechanisms, and comorbid conditions. Management of patients with asthma demands longitudinal monitoring of symptoms, medication use and compliance, and frequent reassessment of response to therapy. Due to the complexity of the disease and multitude of treatment considerations, referral to specialists and advanced centers of excellence is required to achieve acceptable disease control in some instances. However, physicians in the primary care setting, emergency department, and hospital frequently encounter, diagnose, and manage asthma. As such, understanding the core principles of definition, mechanism, diagnosis, symptom burden, associated and mimicking diseases, and treatment options is necessary for all healthcare professionals. This chapter outlines the fundamental approach to asthma definition, diagnosis, pathogenesis, presentation, comorbid conditions, and treatment modalities.


Asthma Hypersensitivity Eosinophilia Inhaled corticosteroids Immunotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of South Florida Morsani College of MedicineTampaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dennis K. Ledford
    • 1
  • Timothy Craig
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Allergy & Immunology, Dept. of Internal MedicineUniversity of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, James A Haley Veterans' Hospital, Asthma and Immunology Associates of Tampa BayTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine and PediatricsPenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA

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