Asthma, Allergy, Immunology
Mark Archambault, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Airway diseases are classified as restrictive, obstructive, or mixed restrictive/obstructive. Approximately 25 million Americans are affected by the lung condition known as asthma. As an obstructive type of airway disease, asthma is defined by the characteristics of hyperreactive swollen airways that results in narrowing; creating an obstruction that prevents the movement of air from the outside environment into the lungs. The obstruction results from constriction of the large airway musculature and increased mucus production. The reactive nature of the disease indicates there are triggers to this condition; traditionally, allergies and exercise are considered among the most common.2 Identifying triggers early allows techniques to be implemented to avoid or minimize exposure to those triggers to avoid exacerbations.
As intervention can affect progression, asthma is also considered a reversible airway condition. Management of physiologic responses to triggers with inhaled, infused, or injectable medications and other modalities/therapeutics can markedly reduce the gravity of the outcome of the disease.
There is no cure for this lung condition that is defined by the tissue type; however, the establishment of significantly more preventative and abortive management options allows for better outcomes. Despite these advances, many asthma sufferers’ symptoms remain uncontrolled. In 2019, of those children 18 years old or younger with asthma, 44.3 percent reported having at least one attack annually.1 The CDC also reported that more than 3500 people died from asthma that year; many of those were avoidable had the patient received appropriate treatment.3 In the past 30 years, asthma management has advanced from being primarily reactive to predominantly proactive. The available preventative medications and modalities today allow providers and patients to focus on staying ahead of the symptoms of asthma.
Baye R. Asthma: Quit Taking My Breath Away. Disease Review and Treatment Summary. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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