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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.
Skin phenotype of pediatric eczema opens door for personalized treatment of AD in infants

Skin phenotype of pediatric eczema opens door for personalized treatment of AD in infants

Researchers for the first time have identified the skin phenotype of pediatric eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants, opening the door for personalized treatment approaches for young children with eczema. [More]
DCRI named coordinating center for research initiative on child health

DCRI named coordinating center for research initiative on child health

The Duke Clinical Research Institute has been named the coordinating center as part of a $157-million federal initiative involved in studying how environmental factors affect childhood health. [More]
Introducing egg and peanut at early age may prevent development of childhood allergy

Introducing egg and peanut at early age may prevent development of childhood allergy

Feeding babies egg and peanut may reduce their risk of developing an allergy to the foods, finds a new study. [More]
Epilepsy patients more likely to experience increased risk of discrimination than general population

Epilepsy patients more likely to experience increased risk of discrimination than general population

In a recent analysis, people with epilepsy were seven-fold more likely to have reported experiencing discrimination due to health problems than the general population. This risk was greater than other chronic health problems such as diabetes, asthma and migraines. [More]
New test developed by Loughborough University may offer one-stop diagnosis for asthma

New test developed by Loughborough University may offer one-stop diagnosis for asthma

A new test which can diagnose asthma from a patient's saliva has been developed by Loughborough University. [More]
Allergists show kids can be near food allergy triggers without fear

Allergists show kids can be near food allergy triggers without fear

Allergists realize people who are severely allergic to a food can experience great anxiety when encountering the food in any form. [More]
Chronic cough different than cough from cold, says allergist

Chronic cough different than cough from cold, says allergist

There's been a lot of talk about politicians and coughs lately. And we've all seen public figures struggle with it. [More]
Rare pattern of gut microbes in newborns linked to higher risk of later allergies and asthma

Rare pattern of gut microbes in newborns linked to higher risk of later allergies and asthma

The microbes living in a baby's gut during its first month of life may directly impact the developing immune system, leading to a higher risk of allergies and asthma later in childhood, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. [More]
Manchester experts develop world’s first Fungal Microscopy online course

Manchester experts develop world’s first Fungal Microscopy online course

Scientists estimate that of the 5 million fungus species on Earth around 600 cause disease in humans. It is a challenge to diagnose a serious fungal infection in real time and this course is aimed at teaching a rapid method of diagnosis. [More]
Asthma related breathing issues may not be barrier to sporting success, study suggests

Asthma related breathing issues may not be barrier to sporting success, study suggests

Many British swimmers and some boxers won medals and achieved personal best performances at the Rio Olympic Games despite asthma related breathing issues. [More]
New tool could help reduce antibiotic prescribing to children with cough and RTIs

New tool could help reduce antibiotic prescribing to children with cough and RTIs

Respiratory tract infections (RTI) with cough are the most common reason children are prescribed antibiotics by their doctors, but up to a third of prescriptions may be unnecessary. [More]
BetterYou welcomes research linking low vitamin D levels to asthma attacks

BetterYou welcomes research linking low vitamin D levels to asthma attacks

A daily oral sunshine spray could be the answer to halving the risk of severe asthma attacks, after a recent study suggested that taking a vitamin D supplement can help by reducing inflammation in the lungs and warding off viruses. [More]
Telemedicine can be effective in treating kids with asthma who live long distances from hospital

Telemedicine can be effective in treating kids with asthma who live long distances from hospital

Allergists are the best-trained medical specialists to treat asthma, but not everyone lives close to an allergist. Children who live hundreds of miles from the nearest allergist may not be receiving the best and most cost-effective care. [More]
Oral vitamin D supplement may reduce risk of severe asthma attacks

Oral vitamin D supplement may reduce risk of severe asthma attacks

A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today and presented at the ERS International Congress, has found evidence from randomised trials, that taking an oral vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma medication is likely to reduce severe asthma attacks. [More]
New drug holds potential for treating advanced mastocytosis

New drug holds potential for treating advanced mastocytosis

Most people have never heard of mastocytosis. It's a rare, sometimes deadly, immune disorder. Now new research may help those with advanced mastocytosis and possibly many more people, too. [More]
Researchers use unique computational approach to identify promising drug leads for heart diseases

Researchers use unique computational approach to identify promising drug leads for heart diseases

Using a unique computational approach to rapidly sample, in millisecond time intervals, proteins in their natural state of gyrating, bobbing, and weaving, a research team from UC San Diego and Monash University in Australia has identified promising drug leads that may selectively combat heart disease, from arrhythmias to cardiac failure. [More]
Exposure to antibiotics in early life linked to increased food allergy risk

Exposure to antibiotics in early life linked to increased food allergy risk

Antibiotic treatment within the first year of life may wipe out more than an unwanted infection: exposure to the drugs is associated with an increase in food allergy diagnosis, new research from the University of South Carolina suggests. [More]

Combination drug therapy safe, effective in treating asthma patients

A post-marketing safety study mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has shown that a combination drug therapy for the treatment of asthma is safe and effective. [More]
Urban planners yet to fully assess vulnerability to climate change, research reveals

Urban planners yet to fully assess vulnerability to climate change, research reveals

Flooding due to rising ocean levels. Debilitating heat waves that last longer and occur more frequently. [More]
Respiratory viral infection triggering asthma attack in children linked to treatment failure

Respiratory viral infection triggering asthma attack in children linked to treatment failure

The results of a study conducted by Dr. Francine Ducharme, Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal, published in the medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, confirm that respiratory viral detection, not child's age, explains the high rate of hospitalization for asthma attacks in children under six. [More]
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