Like an autoimmune disease or the rejection of a transplanted organ, allergic asthma is the result of an unwanted immune response. Characterized by episodes of usually reversible obstruction of the airways, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and chronic inflammation with lung infiltration by lymphocytes, eosinophils, and mast cells, asthma is a respiratory response to a variety of stimuli. This disease is manifested by thickening of the bronchial mucosa and narrowing of airways, and most commonly results in coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath (Koren and O'Neill 1998; Saltini et al. 1998).
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.