As an item of historic interest, it is stated that Aretaeus described the asthmatic attack as early as the second century. Even today such attacks are one of the important clinical expressions of human hypersensitiveness and are responsible for thirteen million days of illness per year among some half million victims of asthma in the United States.
Asthma was described by Osler as a reaction of an anaphylactic nature in sensitized persons, in others possibly a reflex neurosis, characterized by swelling of the nasal or respiratory mucous membrane, increased secretion, spasm of the bronchial muscles, with dyspnea chiefly respiratory.
He stated that there is no essential difference between hay fever and asthma; in the one the nasal portion of the respiratory tract is affected, in the other the bronchial and in many instances both. As used in this paper, the term "asthma" refers to true bronchial asthma in its relation
TURNLEY WH. BRONCHIAL ASTHMA IN RELATION TO FOCI OF INFECTION OF THE UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT. Arch Otolaryngol. 1941;33(5):767–775. doi:10.1001/archotol.1941.00660030777010
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