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Tests such as these should only ever be performed under the guidance of a doctor or allergy specialist. The following content is displayed as Tabs. Once you have activated a link navigate to the end of the list to view its associated content.

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The activated link is defined as Active Tab. Careful diagnosis of adult onset asthma is important, because the symptoms can be confused with other conditions Many people with asthma find their symptoms can worsen when they are exposed to certain allergens like house dust mite, animal dander, pollen and mould Asthma attacks need urgent emergency first aid.

In an emergency, always call triple zero Asthma cannot be cured, but with good management people with asthma can lead normal, active lives Asthma triggers are substances, conditions or activities that lead to symptoms of asthma. Asthma symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

These symptoms can Doctors do not have a single test to diagnose asthma so your doctor must understand your symptoms and eliminate other possible causes of your symptoms People who have asthma or hay fever can get severe asthma symptoms during pollen season when high grass pollen counts combine with a certain type of thunderstorm Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of children developing asthma and provokes more frequent asthma in children with asthma Parents and children talk about some of the factors that can cause a child's asthma to flare up Pregnant women with asthma need to continue to take their asthma medication as it is important to the health of both mother and baby that the mother's asthma is well managed If your child has asthma, the childcare centre or school should have relevant action plans and staff trained to deal with asthma emergencies What is thunderstorm asthma?

Thunderstorm asthma is asthma that is triggered by a particular type of thunderstorm when there is high amounts of grass pollen in the air typically between October and It is important you discuss your asthma and preferred therapies with both your doctor and complementary therapist Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications that can either help to relieve or prevent the symptoms of asthma Cortisol helps to maintain blood pressure, immune function and the body's anti-inflammatory processes Aspergillus is a fungus that commonly grows on rotting vegetation.

It can cause asthma symptoms Breathing in other people's cigarette smoke can be harmful to a person with asthma, especially a child Some industries are more likely to affect a person with asthma because of the triggers in the environment This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Asthma Australia. Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.

The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances.

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Environmental health. Family Violence. Older people in hospital — Get well soon. Health checks. Healthy Eating Healthy Eating. Nutrition for life Mens nutrition for life. In addition to avoidance measures and pharmacotherapy, essential components of asthma management include: regular monitoring of asthma control using objective testing measures such as spirometry, whenever feasible; creation of written asthma action plans; assessing barriers to treatment and adherence to therapy; and reviewing inhaler device technique. This article provides a review of current literature and guidelines for the appropriate diagnosis and management of asthma in adults and children.

It is also the most common chronic disease of childhood [ 2 ]. Although asthma is often believed to be a disorder localized to the lungs, current evidence indicates that it may represent a component of systemic airway disease involving the entire respiratory tract, and this is supported by the fact that asthma frequently coexists with other atopic disorders, particularly allergic rhinitis [ 3 ]. Despite significant improvements in the diagnosis and management of asthma over the past decade, as well as the availability of comprehensive and widely-accepted national and international clinical practice guidelines for the disease, asthma control in Canada remains suboptimal.

Poor asthma control contributes to unnecessary morbidity, limitations to daily activities and impairments in overall quality of life [ 1 ]. This article provides an overview of diagnostic and therapeutic guideline recommendations from the Global Initiative for Asthma GINA and the Canadian Thoracic Society and as well as a review of current literature related to the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of asthma.

Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Symptom episodes are generally associated with widespread, but variable, airflow obstruction within the lungs that is usually reversible either spontaneously or with appropriate asthma treatment such as a fast-acting bronchodilator [ 5 ]. The Canadian Community Health Survey found that 8. Between and , close to 80, Canadians were admitted to hospital for asthma, and hospitalization rates were highest among young children and seniors.

Background

However, the survey also found that mortality due to asthma has fallen sharply since In , a total of deaths were attributed to asthma. More recent epidemiological evidence suggests that that the prevalence of asthma in Canada is rising, particularly in the young population. A population-based cohort study conducted in Ontario found that the age- and sex-standardized asthma prevalence increased from 8.

The age-standardized increase in prevalence was greatest in adolescents and young adults compared with other age groups, and the gender-standardized increase in prevalence was greater in males compared with females.

Is it allergic asthma or something else?

The results of these studies suggest that effective clinical and public health strategies are needed to prevent and manage asthma in the Canadian population. Asthma is associated with T helper cell type-2 Th2 immune responses, which are typical of other atopic conditions. Asthma triggers may include allergic e. IgE production, in turn, triggers the release of inflammatory mediators, such as histamine and cysteinyl leukotrienes, that cause bronchospasm contraction of the smooth muscle in the airways , edema, and increased mucous secretion, which lead to the characteristic symptoms of asthma [ 5 , 9 ].

The mediators and cytokines released during the early phase of an immune response to an inciting trigger further propagate the inflammatory response late-phase asthmatic response that leads to progressive airway inflammation and bronchial hyperreactivity [ 9 ]. Over time, the airway remodeling that occurs with frequent asthma exacerbations leads to greater lung function decline and more severe airway obstruction [ 10 ].

This highlights the importance of frequent assessment of asthma control and the prevention of exacerbations. Evidence suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition for the development of asthma.

Several chromosomal regions associated with asthma susceptibility have been identified, such as those related to the production of IgE antibodies, expression of airway hyperresponsiveness, and the production of inflammatory mediators. However, further study is required to determine specific genes involved in asthma as well as the gene-environment interactions that may lead to expression of the disease [ 5 , 9 ].

An extensive literature review undertaken as part of the development of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development CHILD study an ongoing multicentre national observational study examined risk factors for the development of allergy and asthma in early childhood [ 11 ]. Prenatal risk factors linked to early asthma development include: maternal smoking, use of antibiotics and delivery by caesarean section. With respect to prenatal diet and nutrition, a higher intake of fish or fish oil during pregnancy, and higher prenatal vitamin E and zinc levels have been associated with a lower risk of development of wheeze in young children.

Later in childhood, risk factors for asthma development include: allergic sensitization particularly house dust mite, cat and cockroach allergens , exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, breastfeeding which may initially protect and then increase the risk of sensitization , decreased lung function in infancy, antibiotic use and infections, and gender. Although asthma has long been considered a single disease, recent studies have increasingly focused on its heterogeneity [ 12 ].

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Allergic Asthma: How to Know if Allergies Are Triggering Your Asthma

Using a hierarchical cluster analysis of subjects from the Severe Asthma Research Program SARP , Moore and colleagues [ 13 ] have identified five distinct clinical phenotypes of asthma which differ in lung function, age of asthma onset and duration, atopy and sex. In children with asthma, three wheeze phenotypes have been identified: 1 transient early wheezing; 2 non-atopic wheezing; and 3 IgE-mediated atopic wheezing [ 14 ]. Risk factors for this phenotype include decreased lung function that is diagnosed before any respiratory illness has occurred, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and exposure to other siblings or children at daycare centres.

The non-atopic wheezing phenotype represents a group of children who experience episodes of wheezing up to adolescence that are not associated with atopy or allergic sensitization. Children with this phenotype tend to have milder asthma than the atopic phenotype. Classifying asthma according to phenotypes provides a foundation for improved understanding of disease causality and the development of more targeted and personalized approaches to management that can lead to improved asthma control [ 13 ].

Research on the classification of asthma phenotypes and the appropriate treatment of these phenotypes is ongoing. Bronchoprovocation challenge testing and assessing for markers of airway inflammation may also be helpful for diagnosing the disease, particularly when objective measurements of lung function are normal despite the presence of asthma symptoms [ 5 , 15 , 16 ]. The importance of labeling asthma properly in children and preschoolers cannot be overemphasized since recurrent preschool wheezing has been associated with significant morbidity that can impact long-term health [ 17 ].

Symptoms that are variable, occur upon exposure to triggers such as allergens or irritants, that often worsen at night and that respond to appropriate asthma therapy are strongly suggestive of asthma [ 5 , 16 ]. During the history, it is also important to enquire for possible triggers of asthma symptoms, such as cockroaches, animal dander, moulds, pollens, exercise, and exposure to tobacco smoke or cold air. When possible, objective testing for these triggers should be performed.

Exposure to agents encountered in the work environment can also cause asthma. If work-related asthma is suspected, details of work exposures and improvements in asthma symptoms during holidays should be explored. It is also important to assess for comorbidities that can aggravate asthma symptoms, such as allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, obstructive sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux disease [ 16 ]. The diagnosis of asthma in children is often more difficult since episodic wheezing and cough are commonly associated with viral infections, and children can be asymptomatic with normal physical examinations between exacerbations.

Marked clinical improvement during the treatment period, as reflected by a reduction in daytime or nocturnal symptoms of asthma, a reduction in the use of rescue bronchodilator medication, absence of acute care visits e. In a young child who is symptomatic with cough, wheeze, or increased difficulty breathing, a physical examination both before and after administration of a bronchodilator is of extreme value and can be used as a diagnostic tool.

A positive mAPI in the preschool years has been found to be highly predictive of future school-age asthma [ 20 ]. Given the variability of asthma symptoms, the physical examination of patients with suspected asthma can often be unremarkable. Physical findings may only be evident if the patient is symptomatic. Therefore, the absence of physical findings does not exclude a diagnosis of asthma.

The most common abnormal physical findings are a prolonged expiratory phase and wheezing on auscultation, which confirm the presence of airflow limitation [ 5 ]. Auscultating the chest before and after bronchodilator treatment can be informative as well, with improved breath sounds noted once the small airways undergo bronchodilation.