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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.
Researchers find potential link between pulmonary function and vocal fatigue symptoms in women

Researchers find potential link between pulmonary function and vocal fatigue symptoms in women

Teaching is an occupation with a high risk of developing vocal problems -- teachers have more than twice the voice problems than people in other professions, as the voice is the major tool in classroom instruction and is often used for long periods of time and in noisy environments. [More]
Pre-treatment with antihistamines may suppress gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy

Pre-treatment with antihistamines may suppress gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy

Simultaneous pre-treatment with antihistamines that block both the H1 and H4 antihistamine receptors suppressed the gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy in mice, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. [More]
New Rutgers research aims at exploring gender differences in lung cancer

New Rutgers research aims at exploring gender differences in lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Lung cancer diagnoses have more than doubled among females in the past 38 years, while having fallen 29 percent among males, according to the American Lung Association. [More]
Discrimination linked to lower vaccination rates among racial/ethnic minorities

Discrimination linked to lower vaccination rates among racial/ethnic minorities

Yearly flu shots are strongly recommended for adults with certain chronic illnesses, but patients of racial/ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive them. [More]
New collaborative research center to investigate promising aspects of mucosal immunology

New collaborative research center to investigate promising aspects of mucosal immunology

Immunology - and the idea that many diseases can best be addressed by boosting the body's own immune response - is one of the hottest areas in medical research and clinical treatment. [More]
Wresting back control of CHI3L1 protein could stave off cancer spread in mice

Wresting back control of CHI3L1 protein could stave off cancer spread in mice

For cancer to spread, the cells that take off into the bloodstream must find a tissue that will permit them to thrive. They don't just go looking, though. Instead, they actively prepare the tissue, in one case by co-opting a protein that suppresses defenses the body would otherwise mount. [More]
Researchers identify hCRTh2 protein as possible therapeutic target for asthma

Researchers identify hCRTh2 protein as possible therapeutic target for asthma

Patients with asthma have chronic lung inflammation that results in sporadic narrowing of the airways and difficulty breathing. Symptoms and severity are variable among individuals; however, the cells and inflammatory factors that trigger asthmatic events have been fairly well characterized and are similar regardless of the asthma-inducing stimuli. [More]
Nanoparticle-based gene therapy may hold promise for patients with asthma

Nanoparticle-based gene therapy may hold promise for patients with asthma

A new study has demonstrated a way to deliver a nanoparticle-based gene therapy, in order to repair lungs damaged by chronic allergic asthma and to reduce inflammation that causes asthma attacks. [More]
ICS users may be at greater risk for nontuberculous mycobacteria pulmonary disease

ICS users may be at greater risk for nontuberculous mycobacteria pulmonary disease

Patients with obstructive lung disease who take inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) may be at greater risk for nontuberculous mycobacteria pulmonary disease (NTM PD), according to new research presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference. [More]
Comprehensive outlook of COPD care in the U.S.

Comprehensive outlook of COPD care in the U.S.

Fifteen million: That's the number of adults in the United States affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. [More]
Overdiagnosis of asthma in Canadian communities

Overdiagnosis of asthma in Canadian communities

Asthma is overdiagnosed in an estimated 30 percent of Canadian adult , according to a study presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference. [More]
Philips leads large scale eHealth initiative to deliver coordinated care for tens of thousands of chronic disease patients across Europe

Philips leads large scale eHealth initiative to deliver coordinated care for tens of thousands of chronic disease patients across Europe

Royal Philips and a consortium of leading European healthcare regions, companies, universities and hospitals* today announced the start of the first large scale care coordination and telehealth program in the European Union to support tens of thousands of people living with chronic conditions. [More]
Potential marker of disease activity identified for eosinophilic esophagitis

Potential marker of disease activity identified for eosinophilic esophagitis

Researchers have identified a potential marker of disease activity for a severe and often painful food allergic disease called eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) - possibly sparing children with EoE the discomfort and risk of endoscopic procedures to assess whether their disease is active. [More]
Smokers who use novel nicotine inhaler twice as likely to quit smoking

Smokers who use novel nicotine inhaler twice as likely to quit smoking

A study by researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago, Wellington shows that smokers who used a nicotine inhaler were twice as likely to quit smoking as smokers using a placebo inhaler. [More]
Counseling on child's second hand smoke exposure helps parents quit smoking

Counseling on child's second hand smoke exposure helps parents quit smoking

Parents who smoke are more likely to quit smoking after receiving motivational smoking cessation counseling following a "teachable moment" (TM) such as witnessing their child experience an asthma attack. [More]
Nationwide Children's mobile app may help people better self-manage asthma

Nationwide Children's mobile app may help people better self-manage asthma

Very early on in her life, 3-year-old Karma Taylor found herself frequently in the Emergency Department in the middle of the night as a result of breathing problems. Karma's mom, Joyce Kelso, felt like she was chasing after her daughter's asthma rather than staying ahead of it. [More]
Study shows half of smokers experience respiratory symptoms similar to COPD

Study shows half of smokers experience respiratory symptoms similar to COPD

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that smokers, who wouldn't typically be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are still showing symptoms consistent with the diagnosis. [More]
WHO: Air pollution levels increase in low- and middle income cities

WHO: Air pollution levels increase in low- and middle income cities

More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization limits. While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted. [More]
Rural children have high rates of medical complexity

Rural children have high rates of medical complexity

Children in rural areas have high rates of medical complexity and often reside in low-income and medically underserved areas, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. [More]
New national survey reveals that asthma patients most frequently use rescue inhaler

New national survey reveals that asthma patients most frequently use rescue inhaler

In a new national survey of asthma patients, Health Union, and its new online community Asthma.net, reveals that most were satisfied with the care they received; however, the most frequently used form of treatment, at 89%, is the rescue inhaler. [More]
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