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Is Asthma A Lifelong Disease

What Do The Two Types Have In Common


Exact causes of asthma can be difficult to pinpoint. Allergies and triggers in the environment can cause asthma symptoms and an asthma flare-up, and genetics can also play a role. But the exact reasons why people develop asthma remain unclear.

Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma share many of the same triggers. For all people with asthma, exposure to one of the following triggers may cause an asthma attack, though different people have different triggers:

  • smoke

Avoid Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections, including the common cold, cause 85 out of 100 asthma attacks in young children.footnote 10 Basic preventive measures include the following:

  • Avoid contact with other people who are ill. If there is an ill child in the home, separate him or her from other children, if possible.
  • If you have a respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu, or if you are caring for someone with a respiratory infection, wash your hands before and after caring for this person.
  • Do not smoke. Secondhand smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your child’s nose, sinuses, and lungs and increases his or her risk for respiratory infections.
  • Children who have asthma and their family members should get an influenza vaccine every year.

When To Call A Doctor

911 or other emergency services right away if:

  • Your symptoms do not get better after you have followed your asthma action plan.
  • You have new or worse trouble breathing.
  • Your coughing and wheezing get worse.
  • You cough up dark brown or bloody mucus .
  • You have a new or higher fever.
    • You need to use quick-relief medicine 4 or more times a week .
    • You cough more deeply or more often, especially if you notice more mucus or a change in the colour of your mucus.
    • You have asthma and your peak flow has been getting worse for 2 to 3 days.

If you have not been diagnosed with asthma but have mild asthma symptoms, call your doctor and make an appointment for an evaluation.

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Clinicians Should Recognize Potential Of Childhood Asthma As A Lifelong Burden

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BOSTON Theres a growing sense of a better appreciation of the implications of childhood asthma on adverse respiratory outcomes in adults among allergists, Stanley Szefler, MD, director of pediatric asthma research at the Breathing Institute at Childrens Hospital Colorado and professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said at the ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting.

It’s becoming apparent that we need to take a closer look at the level of severity and how to monitor childhood asthma and shift our focus a little bit in the direction of risk management, Szefler said in an interview.

I think what we have to do is look at asthma as a disease of the lifespan and begin to prompt our medical records to accumulate the information in a better way, he said. Look at when exacerbations occur how frequently, what the pulmonary function is, where it’s going, and what biomarkers may be useful in assessing the level of severity and making choices in treatment.

Szefler spoke exclusively with Healio Internal Medicine about how allergists need to view asthma as a lifelong disease, and continue to place emphasis on the emergence of asthma in young children.

However, as Szefler said, although there is a growing sense of the importance of pediatric asthma, practice has been slow to adopt that emphasis.

Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases


The Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases contributes to WHOs work to prevent and control chronic respiratory diseases. GARD is a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations and agencies from many countries committed to the vision of a world where all people breathe freely.

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What Is An Asthma Trigger

A;trigger is anything that irritates your airways. Asthma is caused by two types of;triggers.;

  • Allergic trigger: cause allergic reactions. Allergic triggers include things like dust mites, pollens, moulds, pet dander,
  • Non-allergic trigger: are usually irritants. Non-allergic triggers include things like smoke, cold air, certain air pollutants, intense emotions

Learn more about different types of asthma triggers and how to manage them.

Is Asthma An Autoimmune Disease

With that background information, the next logical question is Is asthma an autoimmune disease?

Asthma is a condition where the airways swell up, constrict, and/or produce too much mucus making it difficult to breathe. It may trigger shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing as you breathe.

In some people, the condition is nothing more than a minor nuisance. For others, however, it can be life-threatening.

Although it does not have a cure, various treatment options are available to control the unpleasant symptoms. Asthma is considered severe when it becomes difficult to manage the symptoms even with treatment.

Before they can classify the condition, a doctor would look at how often you experience the symptoms and how severe they are. There are generally four main classes:

  • Mild intermittent In this category of the condition, an individual experiences mild symptoms for no more than two days a week and two nights a month
  • Mild persistent Here, symptoms occur more than twice a week but limited to once in a single day
  • Moderate persistent An individual experiences symptoms no more than once in a single day and more than one night a week
  • Severe persistent Symptoms occur throughout the day for several days as well as most nights in a single week

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Can You Grow Out Of Asthma

It is possible for some people with asthma to achieve remission. This means they dont have symptoms and dont use medications. Up to one-third of children with asthma can grow up to have an asthma-free adulthood. People with adult-onset asthma are less likely to experience remission, though it is possible. In one study, one in six adults with asthma achieved remission after 5 years.

Studies show that these people might still have inflammation in their airways, even though they dont have symptoms. It will be interesting to see what we learn about this airway inflammation from long-term use of the newer asthma medications.

What Does Asthma Feel Like

Asthma and COPD

Asthma is marked by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, with extra sticky secretions inside the tubes. People with asthma have symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus.

There are three major signs of asthma:

  • Airway blockage. When you breathe as usual, the bands of muscle around your airways are relaxed, and air moves freely. But when you have asthma, the muscles tighten. It√Ęs harder for air to pass through.
  • Inflammation. Asthma causes red, swollen bronchial tubes in your lungs. This inflammation can damage your lungs. Treating this is key to managing asthma in the long run.
  • Airway irritability. People with asthma have sensitive airways that tend to overreact and narrow when they come into contact with even slight triggers.

These problems may cause symptoms such as:

Not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You may not have all of these symptoms, or you may have different symptoms at different times. Your symptoms may also vary from one asthma attack to the next, being mild during one and severe during another.

Some people with asthma may go for long periods without having any symptoms. Others might have problems every day. In addition, some people may have asthma only during exercise or with viral infections like colds.

When to see your doctor

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Childhood Asthma Risk Factors

The perinatal period has been implicated in the development of childhood asthma. Several cohort studies have unveiled risk factors for the development of asthma in offspring, with factors that span from genetic and environmental risk factors to features such as child’s sex and presence of atopy.

Genetic Risk Factors

Environmental Risk Factors

Environmental perinatal risk factors are also important to consider for childhood asthma. Maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of childhood asthma . Maternal diet in pregnancy has also been implicated as an asthma risk factor with reports of maternal diets higher in vitamin E, zinc, and polyunsaturated fatty acids as protective against the development of childhood asthma . In contrast, high sugar intake in the maternal diet during pregnancy has been associated with increased risk of asthma in offspring . Other maternal dietary factors have been studied but with less conclusive results including the intake of vitamin D, vitamin C, and a Mediterranean diet. Other perinatal risk factors for childhood asthma that have been reported are neonatal jaundice, maternal preeclampsia, and cesarean section delivery, all which have been associated with higher risk of childhood asthma development .

Ultimately gene-environment interactions are critical for the development of asthma in a child .

Natal Risk Factors


Family History

Medical History

Medication Exposure

Presentation Of Asthma: Late Childhood

Symptoms in this age group transition more from discrete episodes of wheezing in response to viral infections to allergic triggered exacerbations. In this age group, exercise-induced symptoms manifest more clearly which may be due to a true change in the clinical presentation of asthma in this age group or also due to sports and exercise becoming a more discreet activity for children of this age wherein caretakers are able to appreciate the symptoms of dyspnea or cough with exertion. In children who avoid or develop a loss of interest in exercise or physical activities, it is important to consider that asthma may be underlying.

Some children in this age group will have few day-to-day symptoms, but have severe asthma attacks in response to specific triggers such as cold weather, cigarette smoke, or seasonal allergies. Virally triggered asthma exacerbations occur in this age group but less often than in the 06 year age range and may contribute to the lower rates of healthcare utilization in this age group as compared with younger years of 04 years .

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Can You Really Grow Out Of Asthma

“If you have asthma your airways are inflamed and sensitive to triggers such as cold air, pollution, cold and flu viruses or allergies that set off your asthma symptoms ,” says Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at;Asthma UK.

“For some children diagnosed with asthma, the condition might improve or disappear completely as they get older but for many people, asthma is a lifelong condition,” he adds.

However, it may not always be asthma causing the problem. Asthma-like symptoms can be down to allergies, which is why it may appear that a child has outgrown their asthma.

“True asthma does not go away, just as diabetes or hypertension don’t go away,” states Dr Thomas Antalffy, inventor of the Smart Peak Flow device.

If you feel your asthma symptoms are relieved, it may simply be lying dormant so it’s important to be vigilant.

“There may be periods where your symptoms do not affect your day-to-day life and these periods could last years or even decades. However, asthma symptoms can be triggered again by a change in circumstances, such as a new workplace, stress, or hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause,” says Whittamore.

“If you’re taking your asthma medicines as prescribed and feeling well, this is a sign that they are working,” so don’t assume you no longer need treatment, he warns.

If symptoms do come back, it’s vital that you don’t ignore them and that you speak with your GP.

Can you really ‘grow out’ of asthma?

What Is An Autoimmune Disorder

Asthma Treatment in Annapolis, MD

Now that you understand how the immune system works, the next phase involves understanding some of the common disorders that plague it. It is not uncommon for some people to have an underactive or overactive immune system.

An underactive immune system results in immunodeficiency, which can be an inherited trait, a side-effect of medical treatment such as chemotherapy, or a disease that targets the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancer.

On the other hand, an overactive immune system may result in allergies or autoimmunity. An allergy is a situation where the immune system mounts an overly strong defense in response to an allergen. Stinging insects, sinus disease, anaphylaxis, hives, eczema, and dermatitis are all examples of allergic reactions.

Autoimmunity results when the immune system mounts an overly strong defense against the normal components of the body. Autoimmune diseases vary depending on the severity of their symptoms and how prevalent they are in the population some are quite common while others, extremely rare.

Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus are all different kinds of autoimmune diseases.

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Can Asthma Be Cured

Here at Asthma UK we’re striving to find a cure, but currently there is no cure for asthma.

The good news, though, is that there are lots of safe and effective treatments available to manage the symptoms.

You just need to work with your GP or asthma nurse to find the ones that work well for you, and get into good habits so you take them exactly as prescribed, so you can get the benefits.

How Is Severe Asthma Diagnosed

More steps are taken to arrive at a diagnosis of Severe Asthma compared to mild-to-moderate asthma. As in mild-to-moderate asthma, healthcare providers will take a detailed medical history, listen for wheezing on examination of the chest, and assess for underlying allergic and non-allergic triggers. Underlying diseases such as eczema or allergic rhinitis may be clues that allergy is present. Allergy skin testing may be performed to evaluate if specific allergic triggers are present that can result in asthma attacks.

In addition, healthcare professionals will likely also conduct objective examinations of lung function including spirometry, or peak expiratory flow , and in some cases, sputum cell counts, which indicate the presence, type, and extent of inflammation in the airways. These objective tests in addition to history will help determine if a patient has Severe Asthma, and will inform treatment choices for patients.;

Healthcare providers should refer patients with Severe Asthma to a specialist to confirm their diagnosis and assist in management.

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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:

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.

Give Teenagers Extra Attention

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Teenagers who have asthma may view the disease as cutting into their independence and setting them apart from their peers. Parents and other adults can offer support and encouragement to help teenagers stick with a treatment program. It’s important to:

  • Help your teenager remember that asthma is only one part of life.
  • Allow your teenager to meet with the doctor alone. This will encourage your teenager to become involved in his or her care.
  • Work out a daily management plan that allows a teenager to continue daily activities, especially sports. Exercise is important for strong lungs and overall health.
  • Talk to your teenager about the dangers of smoking and drug use.
  • Encourage your teenager to meet others who have asthma so they can support each other.

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How Common Is Severe Asthma

It is estimated that as many as 250,000 Canadians suffer from Severe Asthma. Fatalities are higher in this group compared to patients with mild-to-moderate disease. Each year, about 250 Canadians die from asthma. Globally, 250,000 patients with asthma die prematurely on an annual basis because of their condition.

Create An Asthma Action Plan

Both adults and children need to create an asthma action plan to outline what type of medicine they should take and when. It will also provide details for what to do when a persons asthma is dangerously out of control. These instructions will help you, your child, friends and relatives know when its time to change treatments or seek emergency care.

To make this plan, discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Plan what you should do in the event of an asthma flare-up. Define at what point you need to increase treatment measures to prevent or reduce an attack.

List what triggers can be avoided and the best ways to avoid them. Share this plan with friends, relatives, and any caregivers your children may have. Together, you will be able to successfully treat your or your childs asthma and avoid future complications.

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What Else Can You Do To Help Your Child’s Asthma

You can prevent some asthma attacks by helping your child avoid those things that cause them. These are called triggers. A trigger can be:

  • Irritants in the air, such as cigarette smoke or other air pollution. Do not expose your child to tobacco smoke.
  • Things your child is allergic to, such as pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, or pollen. Taking certain types of allergy medicines may help your child.
  • Exercise. Ask your doctor about using an inhaler before exercise if this is a trigger for your child’s asthma.
  • Other things like dry, cold air; an infection; or some medicines. Try not to have your child exercise outside when it is cold and dry. Talk to your doctor about vaccines to prevent some infections. And ask about what medicines your child should avoid.

It can be scary when your child has an asthma attack. You may feel helpless, but having an asthma action plan will help you know what to do during an attack. An asthma attack may be bad enough to need urgent medical care. But in most cases you can take care of symptoms at home if you have a good asthma action plan.


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