Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory non-infectious disease of the respiratory tract. It is characterized by a violation of bronchial patency. It is accompanied by a spasm of smooth muscle in response to surrounding irritants. Most often irritants are allergens. Allergens can be different substances. Possible types of allergens: eggs, chocolate, fish, honey, strawberries; odorous substances, flowers, pet hair.
According to WHO, 235 million people suffer from asthma. Bronchial asthma is also one of the most common chronic diseases in children.
Smokers are in the risk category; people leading a sedentary lifestyle; and also those who work in production and are in contact with a large number of antigens.
Symptoms of bronchial asthma:
– cough with viscous sputum and loud whistling wheezes
– feeling of lack of air, asthma with difficulty breathing out. Such attacks often occur at night. They may be preceded by nausea, pruritus, tickling in the nose and throat.
– severe shortness of breath during exercise
Classification of bronchial asthma
Doctors differentiate phenotypes (according to external manifestations and properties) of bronchial asthma:
- neutrophilic asthma – increased concentration in the sputum of neutrophils (a type of white blood cells)
- eosinophilic asthma – increased concentration in the sputum of eosinophils (a type of white blood cells)
- mixed granulocytic asthma – high concentration eosinophils and neutrophils in sputum
- paucigranulocytic asthma – inflammation is not associated with an increase in the number of eosinophils and neutrophils in sputum
The academic community also highlights clinical asthma phenotypes:
- allergic asthma – it is influenced by a hereditary factor that provokes the emergence of other allergic diseases that are signs of eosinophilic inflammation
- non-allergic asthma – no relationship with allergens
- asthma in obesity – it is accompanied by mild eosinophilic inflammation of the airways
- aspirin-induced asthma
- exercise-induced asthma
Diagnosis of bronchial asthma
Allergy tests are a screening diagnostic method.
Also, doctor can prescribe analysis of sputum to check whether it has a high concentration of eosinophils (a subtype of blood leukocytes).
Another diagnostic subtype is the study of respiratory function – spirography.
In addition, the doctor should assign a number of laboratory tests, such as:
- complete blood count (CBC)
- blood chemistry
- analysis for the determination of specific antibodies identified to the allergen
- helminth test
- CT (computed tomography)
Treatment of bronchial asthma
The first step is to eliminate the effects of irritating allergens.
Also some medications can be used: