Term : asthma
Origin: Anc Greek =άσθμα/asthma (=difficulties in breathing, anhelation)
> αάζω/aazo(=exhale with open mouth, pass away)
> / αFίω > αΐω /aio (= blow)
Coined : The word appeared for the first time in the epic poem Iliad, with the meaning of a short-drawn breath describing the siege of Troy, but the earliest text where the word is found as a medical term is the Corpus Hippocraticum(460-360 B.C.). The best clinical description of asthma in later antiquity is offered by the Greek physicians Aretaeus of Cappadocia (1st century A.D.) and Galen (130-200 A.D.). Moses Maimonides (1135-1204 AD), wrote Treatise of Asthma for Prince Al-Afdal, revealing that his patient's symptoms often started as a common cold during the wet months. Eventually the patient gasped for air and coughed until phlegm was expelled. Physician and chemist Jean Baptiste Van Helmont (1579-1644 AD said for first time that the disease starts from lung’s pipes. At the beginning of the 20th century asthma was seen as a psychosomatic disease. Asthma, as an inflammatory disease, was not really recognized until the 1960s when anti-inflammatory medications started being used.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the smaller airways (bronchioles) of the lungs. From time to time the airways constrict (narrow) in people who have asthma. The typical symptoms of ththe disease are wheeze, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Marketos SG., Ballas CN. Bronchial asthma in the medical literature of Greek antiquity. J Asthma. 1982;19(4):263-9.