Asthma Terms

There are many words or terms associated with asthma. To help make it easier to understand, here are some definitions of some of the words you will hear, read and use that relate to asthma:


Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems. People with asthma have acute episodes when the air passages in their lungs get narrower, and breathing becomes more difficult. Sometimes episodes of asthma are triggered by allergens, although infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors are also important triggers.


Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi (lung airways), resulting in persistent cough that produces considerate quantities of sputum (phlegm). Bronchitis is more common in smokers and in areas with high atmospheric pollution.

Bronchodilator Drugs

Bronchodilators are a group of drugs that widen the airways in the lungs.

Extrinsic asthma

Extrinsic asthma is asthma that is triggered by an allergic reaction, usually something that is inhaled.

Intrinsic asthma

Intrinsic asthma is asthma that has no apparent external cause.

Respiratory system

The respiratory system is the group of organs responsible for carrying oxygen from the air to the bloodstream and for expelling the waste product carbon dioxide.