Inside Your Lungs: Severe and Eosinophilic Asthma
Could Your Severe Asthma Be Eosinophilic Asthma?
Asthma is common it affects up to 25 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but that doesn’t make it any less serious or scary when you or someone you love has an asthma attack.
In fact, asthma attacks result in 1.8 million ER visits per year in the United States, says theAsthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Even more troubling is that on average, 10 Americans die from asthma every day, and many of these deaths can be prevented.
If you have persistent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. For the most part, asthma can be controlled with maintenance and rescue medications, including inhaled corticosteroids. But up to 10 percent of people with asthma have what’s considered to be severe asthma, according to the, and for them these standard therapies aren’t enough.
The good news is that modern science is allowing researchers to identify different types of asthma and develop medications that target the various underlying causes of inflammation.
“Because of molecular biology and newer techniques that we have, we can now design all types of drugs to be very specific for different forms of asthmaand time will show that there are many different forms of asthma,” saysNeil Schachter, MD, the Maurice Hexter Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “So treatment may be tailored to your specific asthma, and that will be much more effective.”
If you have severe asthma, your doctor may conduct a simple blood test to measure the level of eosinophils. Additionally, the doctor may want a sputum test, which looks for eosinophils in mucus coughed up from your lungs, and a FeNO test, which measures nitric oxide in your breath.
If you’ve been diagnosed with eosinophilic asthma and you experience frequent or severe asthma attacks despite following your treatment plan, or if you are having side effects of corticosteroid medications, your doctor may prescribe a biologic drug to reduce inflammation in your airways.
Video: What You Need to Know About Eosinophilic Asthma | Presented by AstraZeneca
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