Pathology. a paroxysmal, often allergic disorder of respiration, characterized by bronchospasm, wheezing, and difficulty in expiration, often accompanied by coughing and a feeling of constriction in the chest.
Contemporary Examples

And that’s a relatively easy one: I know what an asthma inhaler is, and what it’s used for.
Federal Regulations Kill Innovation Too Megan McArdle February 4, 2013

One of her two teenage sons has asthma, a condition that led to some heart-stopping moments when he was young.
Obama’s Big Green Gun Michelle Cottle November 1, 2011

Jane* was barely 40-years-old when her asthma caused her to turn blue and stop breathing.
New Research Shows Poorly Understood “Leaky Gut Syndrome” Is Real, May Be the Cause of Several Diseases Daniela Drake March 26, 2014

The asthma has improved with age, but it never went away entirely.
An Epidemic of Absence: Destroying the Bugs in Our Bodies Can Be Dangerous to Our Health Moises Velasquez-Manoff September 8, 2012

It seemed just like a chronic condition, like having a mom who had asthma or diabetes that was under control.
‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson Reviews ‘Matilda the Musical’ Ramin Setoodeh April 15, 2013

Historical Examples

The menus for colds, catarrh, hay fever, and asthma may be used for influenza.
Encyclopedia of Diet, Vol. 4 (of 5) Eugene Christian

Perhaps then my (coughing) —my—my asthma will invent some opportunity to carry me off.
Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit) Frank Wedekind

My father had asthma terribly and was advised to come to Minnesota for his health.
Old Rail Fence Corners Various

Now it was rheumatism, now the palsy, and then again the asthma.
Paul Prescott’s Charge Horatio Alger

This one has asthma, and he expects she will die too before very long.
Pixie O’Shaughnessy Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

a respiratory disorder, often of allergic origin, characterized by difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and a sense of constriction in the chest

late 14c. asma, asma, from Latin asthma, from Greek asthma “short breath, a panting,” from azein “breathe hard,” probably related to anemos “wind.” The -th- was restored in English 16c.

asthma asth·ma (āz’mə, ās’-)
Bronchial asthma.
asth·mat’ic (-māt’ĭk) adj. & n.
A common inflammatory disease of the lungs characterized by episodic airway obstruction caused by extensive narrowing of the bronchi and bronchioles. The narrowing is caused by spasm of smooth muscle, edema of the mucosa, and the presence of mucus in the airway resulting from an immunologic reaction that can be induced by allergies, irritants, infection, stress, and other factors in a genetically predisposed individual. Common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
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.

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