Does your horse cough? Perhaps it has asthma

University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the frequency of equine asthma and risk factors for its presence in horses across Australia, and whether the recent bushfires have increased respiratory distress.

Automobile law in Japan has improved air quality

A law passed in Japan in 1992 aimed to improve urban air quality by banning vehicles that violated certain emission standards from being registered in designated areas. A new study published in Contemporary Economic Policy ...

Rapid test to diagnose asthma

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases worldwide, affecting more than 235 million patients. It is often more difficult to diagnose in children than in adults. An early diagnosis is especially important for ...

Testing a new therapy for horses struggling to breathe

Pixie, a thirteen-year-old Shetland pony, is only about one-fifth the size of most horses seen for asthma at Tufts Equine Center. That doesn't make his breathing problems any less significant, though.

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Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs in which the airways (bronchi) are reversibly narrowed. Asthma affects 7% of the population, and 300 million worldwide. During attacks (exacerbations), the smooth muscle cells in the bronchi constrict, and the airways become inflamed and swollen. Breathing becomes difficult, and asthma causes 4,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Attacks can be prevented by avoiding triggering factors and by drug treatment. Drugs are used for acute attacks, commonly inhaled β2-agonists. In more serious cases, drugs are used for long-term prevention, starting with inhaled corticosteroids, and then long-acting β2-agonists if necessary. Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids but have no side effects. Monoclonal antibodies such as mepolizumab and omalizumab are sometimes effective. Prognosis is good with treatment.

In contrast to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis, the inflammation of asthma is reversible. In contrast to emphysema, asthma affects the bronchi, not the alveoli.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines asthma as a common chronic disorder of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (bronchospasm), and an underlying inflammation.

Public attention in the developed world has recently focused on asthma because of its rapidly increasing prevalence, affecting up to one in four urban children.

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