Asthma "Bronchoterms" You Should Know

John Bottrell Health Pro
  • If you're an asthmatic you should know the following bronchoterms. 


    1.  Broncho:  If you're an asthmatic you should know that broncho comes from the Greek word bronchos which means windpipe. 


    2.  Bronchus (Bronchi):  The main air passages of the lungs.  Often refers to the large airways, such as the trachea or windpipe.


    3.  Bronchioles:  These are the smaller air passages in the lungs.  They branch from the bronchi deep into the lungs. 


    4.  Bronchiole smooth muscles:  These are muscles that wrap around the bronchioles.


    5.  Bronchospasm:  This term refers to bronchiole smooth muscle spasms that squeeze the bronchioles causing an obstruction.

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    6.  Beta Adrenergic Receptors: These are receptors that are scattered throughout bronchiole smooth muslces that, when stimulated, cause bronchiole smooth muscles to relax and thus become dilated.


    7.  Beta Adrenergic:  This refers to any medicine (like Albuterol) that  binds with beta adrenergic receptors on bronchiole smooth muscles.  A reaction then occurs that causes those smooth muscles to relax and this ultimately dilates the air passages.  This ultimately can make an asthmatic quickly breathe better.


    8.  Bronchodilator:  Any medicine that dilates the air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs, including beta adrenergics like Albuterol and Xopenex.


    9.  Rescue medicine:  Any beta adrenergic medicine.  It's called rescue medicine because it's been known to provide instant relief from asthma symptoms. 


    10.  Rescue inhaler:  This is an inhaler with asthma rescue medicine in it; a beta adrenergic.  Examples include albuterol and xopenex.


    11.  Albuterol:  An asthma rescue medicine.


    12.  Xopenex:  An asthma rescue medicine.


    13.  Bronchodilatoraholic:  Anyone who uses a rescue inhaler more than what is recommended by the manufacturer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and asthma guidelines,  but with permmission by a physician.  It's excessive use, but permissive use.  An example here would be a hardluck asthmatic who needs to use rescue medicine more frequently than once or twice in a two week period or more frequently than every 4-6 hours.  Antonym:  Bronchodilator abuser.


    14.  Bronchodilator abuse:   Use of asthma rescue medicine to excess, for reasons not recommended, and without permission by a physician.   Examples here include use due to anxiety, habit, or as a performance enhancer. 


    15.  Bronchodilator abuser:  A person who participates in bronchodilator abuse. 


    16.  Bronchodilator overuse:  See bronchodilator abuse and bronchodilatoraholic.


    17.  Compliant Asthmatic:  Any asthmatic who uses his rescue medicine as recommended by a physician, even if the dose and frequency is more than recommended by the manufacturer. See Gallant Asthmatic.


    18.   Off Label:  Use of a medicine in ways not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not recommended by the pharmaceutical company. It refers to any of the following:

    • Using unapproved dosing
    • Using a medicine for an unapproved conditions
    • Prescribing a medicine for an unapproved age group

    Despite contrary belief, prescribing medications off label is perfectly legal in the United States.  This is a good thing because it allows doctors a right to use a medicine to its full potential and this greatly benefits patients.  In this way, bronchodilatoraholism is legal and bronchodilator abuse is illegal.

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Published On: October 24, 2011