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Asthma is a common inflammatory disease affecting the airways that leads to shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Symptoms range from mild to severe but are generally manageable with appropriate treatment.

When asthmatics come into contact with something that irritates their lungs, three main changes occur that prevent air from moving easily through the airways. The bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten and narrow the airway (bronchospasm), the lining of the airways inflame, and the cells that line the airways produce more mucus. This bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production lead to wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing.

An asthma “attack” refers to when the onset of symptoms is severe. In rare cases, an asthma attack can be life threatening and hospitalization may be required to provide emergency treatment.
The exact cause of asthma is not yet clear, but examples of factors that are known to trigger the condition include allergens such as house dust mites or pollen, cigarette smoke, exercise, chest infections, and exposure to cold air.

Asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled. One of the most important parts of asthma control is identifying asthma triggers so they can be avoided wherever possible. Medications that may be used include anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and mucus production and bronchodilators to relax the muscles that tighten and narrow the airways.
UA researchers one step closer to preventing asthma in children

UA researchers one step closer to preventing asthma in children

Efforts to improve the health of children at increased risk for asthma will receive a major boost with the launch of a new University of Arizona Health Sciences-led, federally funded national clinical study. For Fernando D. Martinez, MD, and his colleagues at the UA Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, this study follows 30 years of research to prevent and cure this chronic disease. [More]
Common misconception about penicillin allergies

Common misconception about penicillin allergies

It's time for your primary care check-up, and the doctor asks you to list any known drug allergies. "Penicillin," you say immediately, although you can't remember actually taking the drug or having a reaction to it—it was your parents who said so. According to a Texas A&M Health Science Center allergist, many people who believe they're allergic to this antibiotic may not actually be allergic at all. [More]
Mepolizumab has no hint of added benefit in eosinophilic asthma

Mepolizumab has no hint of added benefit in eosinophilic asthma

The monoclonal antibody mepolizumab has been approved since the end of 2015 for the treatment of adults with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care now examined in an early benefit assessment whether the drug offers an added benefit for patients in comparison with the appropriate comparator therapy. [More]
Researchers develop SpiroCall that can accurately measure lung function over simple phone call

Researchers develop SpiroCall that can accurately measure lung function over simple phone call

Most people in the developing world who have asthma, cystic fibrosis or other chronic lung diseases have no way to measure how well their lungs are functioning outside of a clinic or doctor visit. [More]
Advances in telemedicine: an interview with Dr Ameet Bakhai

Advances in telemedicine: an interview with Dr Ameet Bakhai

Telemedicine is the art of improving patient care via managing data remotely, and in this spirit one of the earliest examples often not considered in this category, would be the permanent pacemaker, first implanted into a human being in 1958. [More]
Extreme weather events may lead to more asthma hospitalization

Extreme weather events may lead to more asthma hospitalization

Extreme heat and heavy rainfall are related to increased risk of hospitalization for asthma in Maryland, according to a study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers. [More]
Maternal exposure to air pollution increases risk of long-term health problems in children

Maternal exposure to air pollution increases risk of long-term health problems in children

Even small amounts of air pollution appear to raise the risk of a condition in pregnant women linked to premature births and lifelong neurological and respiratory disorders in their children, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. [More]

One-dose of dexamethasone can improve outcomes of asthmatic patients in ER

Adults with asthma who were treated with one-dose dexamethasone in the emergency department had only slightly higher relapse than patients who were treated with a 5-day course of prednisone. [More]
Yoga exercise may reduce impact of asthma on people's quality of life

Yoga exercise may reduce impact of asthma on people's quality of life

A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today, suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, but effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain. [More]
HDM SLIT tablet can reduce risk of moderate or severe asthma exacerbation

HDM SLIT tablet can reduce risk of moderate or severe asthma exacerbation

The addition of a house dust mite (HDM) sublingual allergen immunotherapy (SLIT) tablet to maintenance medications improved time to first moderate or severe asthma exacerbation during a period of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) reduction among adults with HDM allergy-related asthma not well controlled by ICS, according to a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA. [More]
Five simple steps could reduce future life-threatening asthma attacks and hospital admissions

Five simple steps could reduce future life-threatening asthma attacks and hospital admissions

A national care check list (or ‘care bundle’) is launched today for NHS hospitals discharging asthma patients who have recently received treatment for an acute asthma attack. [More]
Researchers observe worrisome increase in anaphylaxis rate

Researchers observe worrisome increase in anaphylaxis rate

Anaphylaxis, known to be a sudden and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, seems to be increasing among children, according to a new study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. [More]
Blocking IL-1 signalling molecule could alleviate asthma symptoms

Blocking IL-1 signalling molecule could alleviate asthma symptoms

Scientists have made a discovery that could lead to improved treatment for asthma sufferers.They have found that blocking a certain signalling molecule can alleviate symptoms such as mucus production, swelling (edema), and constriction of the airways in the lungs. [More]
Non-invasive test to diagnose EoE could replace need for repeated endoscopy

Non-invasive test to diagnose EoE could replace need for repeated endoscopy

A non-invasive test to diagnose and monitor an inflammatory disease that injures the esophagus - called eosinophilic esophagitis or EoE - would replace the need for repeated endoscopy for a growing number of children and adults with this relatively new condition. [More]
Study evaluates influence of midwife-led antenatal care on VBAC rates

Study evaluates influence of midwife-led antenatal care on VBAC rates

Women who had a caesarean section in a previous pregnancy are much more likely to have a safer vaginal birth if their antenatal care is led by a midwife, according to a new study from The University of Manchester. [More]
NObreath®: the essential tool for World Asthma Day

NObreath®: the essential tool for World Asthma Day

This year, apprehensions have been rising about asthma after recent studies uncovered some horrific truths about asthma; Asthma UK found that over 120,000 asthma sufferers in the UK are at risk from wrongly prescribed medication, whilst NICE published their findings that 30% of people with asthma are suspected to have been misdiagnosed. [More]
Researchers identify biological pathway that explains why current asthma therapies fail in many cases

Researchers identify biological pathway that explains why current asthma therapies fail in many cases

Asthma is an enormous public health problem that continues to grow larger, in part because scientists don't fully understand how it is caused. Existing therapies don't cure the disease and often don't even significantly alleviate the symptoms. Now, scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University have identified a biological pathway that potentially explains why current asthma therapies don't work well in many cases—and might be targeted to help those patients. [More]
More than half of U.S. adults believe today's kids have diminished emotional and mental health

More than half of U.S. adults believe today's kids have diminished emotional and mental health

More than half of adults believe children today are more stressed, experience less quality family time and have worse mental and emotional health than children in past generations, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. [More]
MGH-led study confirms safety of allergy immunotherapy

MGH-led study confirms safety of allergy immunotherapy

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found no evidence of infections related to administration of allergy immunotherapy, the common practice of injecting minimal quantities of allergens beneath the skin to reduce the allergic response. [More]
MicroRNAs circulating in blood could lead to first diagnostic test for asthma

MicroRNAs circulating in blood could lead to first diagnostic test for asthma

People with asthma have telltale molecules circulating in their blood, say researchers at Penn State College of Medicine. The discovery could lead to the first diagnostic blood test for asthma, as well as more targeted treatments for the condition. [More]
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