Asthma and allergic diseases affect many people. The number of people affected by these conditions is increasing day by day. Istanbul Okan University Hospital Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Specialist Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akcay explained.
Asthma, in which a person's airways narrow and make it difficult to breathe; is a condition in which it produces extra mucus that triggers coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured. However, its symptoms can be controlled. Allergies and asthma often occur together. The same substances that trigger hay fever symptoms can also cause asthma symptoms. In some cases, skin or food allergies can cause asthma symptoms. These are known as allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.
Our immune system provides protection against bacteria and viruses. When our body encounters harmful substances, we produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, and these antibodies cause the release of chemicals such as histamine, causing inflammation. In people with allergies and asthma, the immune system not only fights against bacteria and viruses. It also overreacts when it encounters a substance that is usually harmless. Substances such as pollen, pet dander, foods can cause allergies. The substance that causes the allergy is called an allergen. As the body tries to eliminate the allergen, it can lead to symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
Although the exact cause of asthma is not known, it is known that a combination of environmental and genetic factors cause this condition. People whose parents or siblings have asthma are also at higher risk of developing asthma. Allergens, irritants (like cigarette smoke and pollution), respiratory infections, weather changes, and exercise can also trigger asthma symptoms. However, whatever the person's triggers are, the underlying asthma issue remains the same.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
When you breathe, air passes from your nose and mouth to your lungs through a system of tubes called the airways or bronchial tubes. People with asthma experience extreme narrowing of the airways in both lungs, which often causes symptoms including:
- Shortness of breath,
- Chest tightness.
Asthma symptoms can occur daily, weekly, or infrequently and can range from mild to severe. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children and if left untreated or inadequately treated; Asthma can potentially cause loss of lung function, exercise restriction, difficulty sleeping, absenteeism from school or work, and a significant decrease in quality of life.
Allergic asthma is triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as pet dander, dust or dust mites, mold or pollen. Sometimes asthma can only occur during pollen seasons. Identifying your specific allergic triggers is crucial to managing your asthma. About 80% of people with allergic asthma have a related condition such as hay fever, eczema or food allergies.
A family history of allergies is an important risk factor for allergic asthma. Having an allergic rhinitis or other allergies also increases your risk of developing asthma.
Although allergic asthma is very common, there are other types of asthma with different types of triggers. For some people, asthma; may be triggered by exercise, infections, cold weather, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or stress. Many people have more than one asthma trigger.
The diagnosis of asthma is based on several different things, including the medical history, physical exam, and results of certain tests, such as lung tests. Lung function tests, chest X-ray etc. There are also special tests that can help diagnose asthma, including: Allergy tests can be done to detect allergies.
The molecular allergy test, a newly developed test, can be very useful in this context, as it provides comprehensive results. This test, which also reveals all respiratory allergens, can also have a positive effect on the course of treatment.
Madx Mat Molecular Allergy Test in the diagnosis of asthma
With the Madx Mat molecular allergy test, which is a new technology in the diagnosis of asthma, a much more detailed allergy source can be determined and which allergens should be in the allergy vaccine can be revealed in detail.
Prevention and long-term control are the keys to stopping asthma attacks before they start. Treatment often involves learning to recognize your triggers, taking steps to avoid them, and monitoring your breathing to make sure your medications are keeping symptoms under control. In case of an asthma flare-up, you may need to use a quick relief inhaler. The right medicine for you; it depends on a number of things like your age, symptoms, asthma triggers. Your allergist will allow you to keep your asthma under control with methods appropriate for your current situation.
Vaccination can be used to treat allergies
Allergy vaccines (immunotherapy) can help treat asthma by gradually reducing your immune system's response to certain allergy triggers. Immunotherapy involves regular injections of small amounts of allergens that trigger your symptoms. Your immune system develops tolerance to allergens over time and your allergic reactions decrease. In turn, asthma symptoms are also reduced. This treatment usually requires regular injections over a period of time. With immunotherapy, that is, allergy vaccine treatment, your asthma complaints disappear. Your need for medication disappears and your quality of life increases a lot.