Medical research

First lung map uncovers new insights into asthma

For the first time, researchers have mapped the building blocks of the human lungs and airways, in both asthma patients and normal people. The research from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, University Medical Center Groningen, ...

Medical research

Newborn gut microbiome predicts later allergy 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 ...

Inflammatory disorders

Study reveals nervous system's role in asthma attacks

(Medical Xpress)—Asthma is a debilitating condition that kills 250,000 people around the world each year. People with asthma have hyperreactive airways and thickened lung walls obstructed with mucus. During an asthma attack, ...

Medications

New monoclonal antibody shows promise for severe asthma

A new monoclonal antibody therapy shows promise in offering an alternative treatment for patients suffering from moderate-to-severe asthma. Research led by Michael E. Wechsler, MD, MMSc, director of the National Jewish Health ...

Medical research

Study explores why asthma worsens at night

For hundreds of years, people have observed that asthma severity often worsens in the nighttime. One longstanding question has been to what degree the body's internal circadian clock—as opposed to behaviors, such as sleep ...

Medical research

An asthma vaccine effective in mice

Inserm teams led by Laurent Reber (Infinity, Toulouse) and Pierre Bruhns (Humoral Immunity, Institut Pasteur, Paris) and French company NEOVACS have developed a vaccine that could induce long-term protection against allergic ...

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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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