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New Test Helps Diagnose Asthma

Posted by admin in Asthma

Doctors in San Antonio, Texas are trying a new test to diagnose asthma. The test, which is called NIOX, MINO, measures the amount of nitric oxide that the patient exhales. Asthmatics tend to exhale higher amounts of nitric oxide because of inflamed airways. Besides determining if a patient has asthma, the test can also determine if prescribed treatments are working well.

NIOX, MINO is non-invasive and takes only about two minutes. Even very small children can give themselves the test using a small hand-held device.

Since asthma can be difficult to diagnose, new strategies for diagnosis are always helpful, especially those that are simple and non-invasive.

Asthma is a Widespread Disease

While there is no cure for asthma, the condition can usually be controlled with proper medical care. For some people, asthma is nothing more than an annoyance, while it can be life-threatening for others. In fact, an estimated 11 people die of the condition each day in the United States alone. 22 million adults and children have asthma in the U.S., and it is the most common chronic disease in children, resulting in 500,000 hospitalizations annually, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

African Americans seem to be more vulnerable to developing asthma than Caucasians, and boys tend to develop it earlier. After puberty, however, girls and women are more likely to develop the disease or have worse symptoms than males. Heredity, obesity, and smoking also contribute to developing the disease.

What Happens During an Asthma Attack?

During an asthma episode, the airways swell, making it difficult to breathe. Patients report a tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Asthma attacks are sometimes brought on by exercise, cold weather, and allergens, such as pollen, smoke, fumes, dust, mold, certain foods, and/or animals.

Some people are more prone to experiencing asthma attacks at night, and there seems to be a correlation between asthma and acid reflux, although the reason for this is as yet unknown.

Asthma Treatments

Doctors usually suggest that asthma sufferers try to eliminate or reduce whatever has been determined to trigger attacks.  Oral inhalers are usually prescribed to assist breathing during an attack, and a variety of medications can be tried for those who suffer severe or frequent symptoms. If the inhaler, such as albuterol, does not work to ease the symptoms of an acute attack, the patient should seek medical help, as it can be dangerous to suffer prolonged breathing difficulties.

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