The bad news is, you have asthma. The good news is, asthma has become such a common condition, affecting more than 10% of the US population and is at near epidemic proportions, that tons of research dollars have been allocated to it worldwide.
This research is producing new insights into risk factors for asthma, as well as exciting new treatment approaches. Here is a brief review of studies that have been in the news lately:
Bronchial thermoplasty. This treatment is the first non-drug approach to treating asthma that has real merit. It's being studied at a number of different hospitals around the US and some very promising preliminary reports were released in a medical journal.
It's a routine procedure done with a bronchoscope to reduce areas of smooth muscles in your airways. 10-second "bursts" of radio energy in the form of controlled heat are passed through the scope into a basket sort of device that presses against the sides of your airways. Three treatments are needed. You can see a video about bronchial thermoplasty right here on this site:
You can also find more information on it by Googling the term.
Healthy diet. A study published in the December 2006 issue of Thorax suggests there may be a link between asthma and the diet that you eat, at least if you're a child. 598 Dutch children aged 8–13 years were studied, and both questionnaires and clinical data were used to gather data. Researchers found that kids who ate more whole grains and fish tended to have less frequent wheezing and cough. Eating fruits, vegetables, and dairy products did not seem to improve asthma symptoms one way or the other.
Antibiotic therapy. Asthma causes inflammation of the airways, and experts have long blamed allergens for that inflammation. However, not every asthmatic responds as expected to anti-inflammatory treatments, such as inhaled steroids. So doctors have begun to look a bit farther afield for possible root causes of asthma. One of the treatments that is showing some promise is using antibiotics, such as clarithromycin. You can read about this study at the NIH site:
So, those are just a few of the intriguing studies going on today relating to asthma. It's my hope that real cures and more effective treatments can be found for asthma within the next 5 to 10 years. Maybe we'll even see a day when asthma is no longer a factor in our world!
- Bronchial thermoplasty. This treatment is the first non-drug approach to treating asthma that has real merit. It's being studied at a number of different hospitals around the US and some very promising preliminary reports were released in a medical journal.
Published On: April 16, 2007