What is it?
It is an inflammatory disease that affects the bronchial tree, which affects 5% of people living in Western countries, and is characterized by attacks of coughing and bronchospasm, causing breathing difficulties of varying severity. Assessment of the type of asthma (intermittent or persistent, acute or chronic) and the severity is based on guidelines proposed by international scientific communities and generally accepted (see the Italian version of the Libra Guidelines), which allow for a uniform diagnostic classification and optimal treatment.
Which are the symptoms?
The characteristic symptoms of allergic bronchial asthma are:
- coughing fits (usually dry or with little phlegm);
- tightness in the chest;
- difficulty breathing with noises (whistling and moaning), especially in the expiratory phase;
- difficulties with physical activity and in the most severe forms, there are difficulties with speech and laughter
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnostics is possible if you carry out:
- tests of respiratory function to assess the degree of bronchial obstruction and its reversibility;
- skin allergy tests (PRICK);
- serological tests (specific IgE studies) to determine the responsible allergen.
How is it treated?
For the treatment of asthma, as well as for rhinitis, which in most cases is associated with asthma and affects its severity, therapeutic strategies are listed in the aforementioned Guidelines, which should be consulted by every physician, taking into account the characteristics of each patient and his condition. In fact, establishing a close and trusting relationship between doctor and patient is essential to gaining an adequate understanding of the causes of disease, perception of severity and expected results from prescribed drugs when used correctly.
Key points in defining therapy:
1. identification and removal of the responsible allergen (if possible);
2. appointment of synthetic drugs: bronchodilators and corticosteroids administered by inhalation or systemic, depending on the severity of the clinical picture, antileukotrienes, chromones, etc. Therapeutic regimens and doses should comply with the above Guidelines;
3. prescribing specific immunotherapy with allergenic extracts (ITS or desensitizing therapy): this is the only therapy that can target the source of the allergic disease, gradually modulating the immune system response, which in allergic subjects does not react properly to substances (allergens) such as pollen, dust mites, mold, animal epithelium, which are usually found in the environment and harmless to healthy people. Numerous clinical studies have shown that specific immunotherapy reduces drug intake and the risk of developing asthma, significantly improving the quality of life of patients;
4. identification and treatment of comorbid conditions (e.g. rhinitis and rhinosinusitis, obesity, etc.) that can worsen asthma.
Where do we treat it?
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