Immunology

Cracks in the skin of eczema patients promote allergic diseases

Infants who develop eczema are more likely to develop food allergies, hay fever and asthma as they grow older, a progression known as the atopic march. Donald Leung, MD, Ph.D., head of Pediatric Allergy & Clinical Immunology ...

Immunology

'Chaos' in the home linked to poor asthma control in children

A chaotic household—one where things just don't seem to run smoothly, there's lots of noise, little gets taken care of in a timely manner, and where relaxation is difficult—as well as child and parent depression, are ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New knowledge on the development of asthma

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways. Their results, which are published in the journal Immunity, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

A near-fatal Valley Fever case opens doors to new treatment method

Of the 8,000 Californians who will contract Valley Fever this year, most will recover without treatment, and those with more serious cases will require an antifungal medication that clears the infection. But a few will experience ...

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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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