Glossary of Asthma Terms1


The breathing tubes in your lungs.


A chronic condition that makes it hard to breathe by causing your airways to become narrow or blocked. Asthma symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Inflammation plays an important role in asthma.

Asthma Action Plan

A document written for an individual patient that explains what kind of asthma medicine to take, when and how much to take and what to do in case of an emergency.

Asthma attack

A period where asthma symptoms suddenly get worse or additional asthma symptoms appear.


A type of medication that relaxes the muscles around the airways, allowing the airways to open up, making it easier to breathe. Bronchodilator may be long or short acting.


See asthma attack.


One way your body responds to injury or irritation. An inflamed area maybe warm, red, swollen, or painful.

Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)

Inhaled long-term asthma control medicines that work by controlling inflammation.

Long-acting bronchodilator

Long-Actiong Beta Agonists (LABA)

A type of long-term control medicine that relaxes the muscles around the airways, allowing the airways to open up. LABAs should not be used by themselves.

Long-Term control medicine

Medication for persistent asthma that is taken over the longe term, usually daily to prevent symptoms.

Peak Flow

A measurement of how well you can blow air out of your lungs.

Quick-relief inhaler

Medicines that relieve symptoms of asthma attacks.

Rescue Inhaler

See quick-relief inhaler.

Short Acting bronchodilator

Short Acting Beta Agonists (SABA)

A type of quick-relief medication that relieves asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles around the airways allowing the airways to open up.


Something in the environment that can make asthma symptoms occur or become worse.


A whistling sound when you breathe.

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Glossary of ASthma Terms. Accessed October 17, 2012. Available at: