Which features are the main components of asthma pathophysiology?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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The 2007 Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3) of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) noted several key changes in the understanding of the pathophysiology of asthma [1] :

  • The critical role of inflammation has been further substantiated, but evidence is emerging for considerable variability in the pattern of inflammation, thus indicating phenotypic differences that may influence treatment responses

  • Of the environmental factors, allergic reactions remain important. Evidence also suggests a key and expanding role for viral respiratory infections in these processes

  • The onset of asthma for most patients begins early in life, with the pattern of disease persistence determined by early, recognizable risk factors including atopic disease, recurrent wheezing, and a parental history of asthma

  • Current asthma treatment with anti-inflammatory therapy does not appear to prevent progression of the underlying disease severity

The pathophysiology of asthma is complex and involves the following components:

  • Airway inflammation

  • Intermittent airflow obstruction

  • Bronchial hyperresponsiveness

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