What Is Niehs Doing
NIEHS conducts and supports asthma research from basic studies in laboratories to human clinical trials. This research focuses on complex relationships among the environment and peoples genetics and immune system. Projects include:
- Development of sensors that measure personal environmental triggers of asthma.
- Clinical trials that examine if reduced indoor air pollution can improve asthma symptoms.
- Data science methods that combine environmental data gathered across the United States.
Join an asthma study!
The goal of the Natural History of Asthma with Longitudinal Environmental Sampling study is to help scientists understand how bacteria and other factors in the environment affect people who have moderate to severe asthma.
Who can participate?
- Moderate to severe asthmatics.
- Males and females, aged 18-60.
- Females should not be pregnant or breastfeeding at the start of the study, but may still participate if they become pregnant during the study.
- Nonsmokers who are also not around significant amounts of secondhand smoke.
- No history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, cystic fibrosis , pulmonary fibrosis, non-CF bronchiectasis, sarcoidosis, unstable angina, or pulmonary hypertension.
- Not allergic to methacholine.
- Able to provide your own transportation to clinic visits on the NIEHS campus in North Carolina. For more information about this study:
- NHALES: Asthma Study
Can Asthma Be Prevented
Asthma cant be prevented entirely, but there are some practical ways to reduce the risk of an asthma attack and live well with asthma.
- Get vaccinated for influenza: flu and other respiratory viruses are common triggers for asthma.
- Manage any allergies: asthma and allergies are closely linked, so treating allergic rhinitis and avoiding or managing any allergy triggers will help with your asthma.
- Live smoke-free: quit smoking if you smoke, and avoid any second-hand smoke .
- Eat well: a balanced diet helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese makes asthma harder to manage.
- Care for yourself: mental health and asthma are linked, so let a trusted friend or your doctor know if you have been feeling sad or anxious, or dont enjoy things as much as before.
- See your doctor regularly: asthma needs to be regularly assessed and managed, and your medication needs may change over time. Ensure your asthma action plan is up to date by checking in with your doctor regularly.
What Are The Treatments For Asthma
If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include
- Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
- Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
- Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.
If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.
Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.
Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airway’s ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it’s important to discuss them with your provider.
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Four Components Of Asthma Treatment
The use of objective measures of lung functionspirometry, peak flow expiratory flow rateto access the severity of asthma, and to monitor the course of treatment.
The use of medication therapy designed to reverse and prevent the airway inflammation component of asthma, as well as to treat the narrowing airways.
The use of environmental control measures to avoid or eliminate factors that induce or trigger asthma flare-ups, including the consideration of immunotherapy.
Patient education that includes a partnership among the patient, family members, and the doctor.
Asthma Prevention And Control
Asthma is a common disease affecting the lungs. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled. With treatment, a person with asthma can live an active life. If left untreated, asthma can severely impact a persons life.
Asthma affects the airways in the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are extra sensitive to different things in the environment such as cigarette smoke, dust mites and mold. When people with asthma breathe in these things, their airways become inflamed and swollen. Air cant get through the airways and it is harder to breathe.
Asthma is a chronic disease. It is a lifelong condition that can cause permanent damage if it is not treated properly. Asthma is not contagious, but it often runs in families that have a history of asthma and allergies. Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and the number one reason why children miss school.
Access to environmental data, information, and resources
Access to information on comprehensive asthma control services in schools
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Managing Your Asthma During The Pandemic
- Keep taking your controller medication daily or as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including COVID-19.
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you every day, in case your asthma symptoms flare up.
- Monitor your asthma symptoms closely and follow your Asthma Action Plan to help you recognize and manage asthma symptoms, and know when to seek advice from your healthcare provider or emergency help.
- If you must travel, pack all asthma medications in your carry-on luggage so it is easily accessible. Pack extra asthma medication in case your travel plans change or are delayed. Be sure to check travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canadas website.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and fluids, and eat good nutritious food.
- Ensure that you speak with your healthcare provider about recommended vaccinations. Getting both the influenza vaccination and pneumococcal disease vaccinationare important steps people with asthma can take to help stay healthy.
- Reach out to Asthma Canadas Asthma & Allergy HelpLinecall-back service to connect with a Certified Respiratory Educator if you have questions about managing your asthma. Call 1-866-787-4050 or email
Expanding Access To Intensive Self
Teaching people how to manage asthma on their own is one of the most important parts of controlling the disease nationwide. Everyone with asthma should develop an individualized asthma action plan with a doctor. In general, people with asthma arent getting action plans from their doctors. Intensive asthma self-management education can improve asthma symptom control for individuals whose asthma is not well-controlled with medical management based upon the NAEPP Guidelines.
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Asthma In Minnesota: Mn Public Health Data Access Portal
Asthma is a chronic disease that includes broncho-constriction and inflammation of the bronchial tubes. During normal breathing, air flows freely in and out of the lungs. But, during an asthma episode, the lining of the airways swell, muscles around the airways tighten and mucus clogs the tiny airways in the lungs, making breathing difficult. The airways become overly responsive to environmental changes, sometimes resulting in wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, or tightness in the chest.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Asthma is an increasing concern across the country because of rising incidence rates, especially in children. Asthma disproportionately impacts children, females, African-Americans, and people with low incomes.
Asthma Causes And Triggers
When you have asthma, your airways react to things in the world around you. Doctors call these asthma triggers. They might cause symptoms or make them worse. Common asthma triggers include:
- Infections like sinusitis, colds, and the flu
- Allergens such as pollens, mold, pet dander, and dust mites
- Irritants like strong odors from perfumes or cleaning solutions
- Air pollution
- Strong emotions such as anxiety, laughter, sadness, or stress
- Medications such as aspirin
- Food preservatives called sulfites, found in things like shrimp, pickles, beer and wine, dried fruits, and bottled lemon and lime juices
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Characteristics Of A Chronic Illness
Chronic illnesses are mostly characterised by:
- complex causes
- long latency periods
- a long illness
- functional impairment or disability.
Most chronic illnesses do not fix themselves and are generally not cured completely. Some can be immediately life-threatening, such as heart disease and stroke. Others linger over time and need intensive management, such as diabetes. Most chronic illnesses persist throughout a persons life, but are not always the cause of death, such as arthritis.
How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
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Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.
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Who Can Get Asthma
Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.
When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.
Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
Can You Outgrow Asthma
Some children with asthma stop having symptoms when they mature. By adolescence, 16% to 60% of children diagnosed with asthma seem to be in remission.
However, doctors don’t usually consider asthma “cured” since, even after years of living symptom-free, you could suffer an asthma attack at any time.
The wide range of remission statistics shows that studies have been inconsistent in their design, and more research is needed to fully understand how and why some children seem to “get over” asthma.
In some studies, children who were more likely to go into remission had asthma characterized as:
- Less atopic dermatitis
Male children are also more likely to go into remission.
If your childhood asthma appears to have gone away, it may still be a good idea to avoid triggers, especially allergy triggers, as they could cause symptoms to reappear.
Little to no research has followed adults who appear to have outgrown their childhood asthma, so there’s no clear picture of whether or not this reduces the risk of long-term health effects.
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Common Stresses Of Chronic Illness
Chronic or long-term illness and its treatment pose special problems. You need to learn how to:
- live with the physical effects of the illness
- deal with the treatments
- make sure there is clear communication with doctors
- maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
- maintain confidence and a positive self-image.
Reducing The Burden Of Asthma
Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.
There are two main types of inhaler:
- bronchodilators , that open the air passages and relieve symptoms and
- steroids , that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks and death.
People with asthma may need to use their inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the different types of inhalers available.
It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a spacer device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine to reach the lungs more effectively. A spacer is a plastic container with a mouthpiece or mask at one end, and a hole for the inhaler in the other. A homemade spacer, made from a 500-ml plastic bottle, can be as effective as a commercially-manufactured inhaler.
Access to inhalers is a problem in many countries. In 2019, only half of people with asthma had access to a bronchodilator and less than one in five had access to a steroid inhaler in public primary health-care facilities in low-income countries .
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What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle around the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed, and the cells lining the airways make more and thicker mucus than normal.
All of these things — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms such as trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and trouble with normal daily activities.
Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale, sweaty face
- Blue lips or fingernails
An asthma attack can get worse quickly, so it’s important to treat these symptoms right away.
Without immediate treatment, such as with your asthma inhaler or bronchodilator, it will become harder to breathe. If you use a peak flow meter at this time, the reading will probably be less than 50% of your usual or normal peak flow reading.. Many asthma action plans suggest interventions starting at 80% of normal.
As your lungs continue to tighten, you wonât be able to use the peak flow meter at all. Your lungs will tighten so there is not enough air movement to make wheezing. You need to go to a hospital right away. Unfortunately, some people think that the disappearance of wheezing is a sign of improvement and donât get emergency care.
How Is Asthma Managed
People with asthma can learn to identify and avoid the things that trigger an episode. They can also educate themselves about medications and other asthma management strategies:
Asthma is a chronic disease. It has to be cared for all the timenot just when symptoms are present:
The four parts of continually managing asthma are:
Identify and minimize contact with asthma triggers.
Understand and take medications as prescribed.
Monitor asthma to recognize signs when it is getting worse.
Know what to do when asthma gets worse.
Working with a health care professional is the best way to take care of asthma.
The more information a person with asthma has, the better asthma can be controlled.
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Chronic Disease Management For Asthma
Asthma is a chronic airway disease affecting about 300 million people worldwide. People with asthma have many symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. The aim of a chronic disease management programme for asthma is to improve the quality and effectiveness of asthma care by creating a programme that is centred on patient’s needs, encourages the co-ordination of the health services provided by healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses, who should work together, and focuses on helping the patients to manage their illness themselves as well as providing them with information to help them understand their illness.
This review found 20 studies that compared the effects of chronic disease management programmes in adults with asthma with the effects of usual care. The average age of the patients was 42.5 years, 60% were women, and they had moderate to severe asthma. Overall the evidence that was found was of moderate to low quality.
Chronic disease management programmes for adults with asthma probably improve patients’ quality of life, reduce the severity of the asthma, and improve breathing as demonstrated by improved performance in lung function tests after 12 months. It is unclear whether chronic disease management programmes improve the patients’ abilities to manage their own asthma or decrease the number of hospitalisations or emergency visits.
To evaluate the effectiveness of chronic disease management programmes for adults with asthma.
Tips For Wearing A Face Mask With Asthma
The Public Health Agency of Canada currently recommends that Canadians wear non-medical face masks while in public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained such as on public transit, or at the grocery store.
Be sure to check your provincial or territorial authority for up-to-date guidance.
Wearing a face mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing or frequent handwashing. Wearing a non-medical face mask is an extra measure that can be taken to protect those around you. When worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask can reduce the spread of their own infectious respiratory droplets.
Make sure you wear your mask properly. It should cover both your nose and mouth. If your mask gets soiled or wet, be sure to wash and dry it before wearing it again. You can read information about appropriate use of non-medical masks, and how to properly place, remove and clean a non-medical mask from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The vast majority of people with asthma can wear a non-medical mask safely. If you are unable to wear a non-medical mask without experiencing breathing issues, do not wear a mask. Instead, make sure you are practicing physical distancing by maintaining a 2-metre distance. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to go over your Asthma Action Plan and review your asthma symptoms and control. Your healthcare provider may suggest or ask you to consider other options to protect yourself.
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