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Editorials |

A Disease Called Asthma

William A. Speir, Jr, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Augusta, GA 
 ,  Dr. Speir is Professor of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Medical College of Georgia.

Correspondence to: William A. Speir, Jr., MD, FCCP, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912-3135



Chest. 2000;118(1):8-9. doi:10.1378/chest.118.1.8
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Asthma is a strange disease. It is a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by hyperreactive airways. Definitions of asthma are largely unsatisfactory, and, if the reported trends of increased morbidity and mortality are correct, the present approaches to management of the disease called asthma are largely unsatisfactory for many patients.

It would be ideal if all patients responded to our ministrations as they should. Medical treatment could be reduced to easily followed stepwise algorithms. Unfortunately, individual patients have a propensity for fickleness, and individual patients with asthma are more fickle than most. The heterogeneous nature of the syndrome does not lend itself to rigid stepwise algorithmic approaches.

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asthma

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