Immunology

Bed dust microorganisms may boost children's health

In the most extensive study of its kind, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the Danish Pediatric Asthma Center at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, have found a link between microorganisms living ...

Pediatrics

Diagnosing the cause of exercise-induced respiratory symptoms

Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common in childhood, and it can be difficult to diagnose their cause. A study published in Pediatric Pulmonology found that the diagnoses proposed by primary care physicians are often ...

Immunology

New study points to a better way to ward off asthma triggers

Every day, ten Americans die from asthma. While quick-acting inhalers and medications can reduce inflammation during an asthma attack, people with asthma have few tools to prevent the next attack from coming.

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Asthma (from the Greek άσθμα, ásthma, "panting") is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic).

It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist (such as salbutamol). Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and by inhaling corticosteroids. Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids and thus less preferred.

Its diagnosis is usually made based on the pattern of symptoms and/or response to therapy over time. The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s. As of 2010, 300 million people were affected worldwide. In 2009 asthma caused 250,000 deaths globally. Despite this, with proper control of asthma with step down therapy, prognosis is generally good.

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