Two Names, One Disease?
According to research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma and rhinitis might be symptoms of a single disease that just occur in different parts of the airways. The investigators arrived at that finding after demonstrating that 94% of the kids enrolled in the study had both asthma and rhinitis.
Asthma May Lead to Obesity
Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for asthma. New research out of Europe suggests the opposite is true as well. Investigators who analyzed data on more than 21,000 children found toddlers with asthma were 66% more likely to become obese by age eight than toddlers without asthma. Those with persistent wheezing were at even higher risk. The culprit? The authors believe limiting physical activity in kids with asthma could be playing a role.
Inhaler Errors Abound
Researchers presenting at a recent medical conference find two-thirds of people with asthma and COPD don't use their inhalers correctly. Forty percent or more of people in the study (which combined research previously conducted in the area) failed to exhale fully prior to inhalation, to inhale deeply and slowly, or to hold their breath for a full five to ten seconds after inhaling. Better education on inhaler use is the answer, report the investigators.
Patient Perceptions Drive Medication Use
Asthma can be controlled – as long as people take their medications as prescribed. Why don't they? Researchers who pooled data from previous studies believe patient perceptions may be coming into play. Overall 58% were concerned that their asthma medications might have unwanted short or long-term side effects, 19% thought they weren't safe, and 31% were afraid they'd become addicted to them. Twenty-two percent were simply too embarrassed to use their medications in some situations.
Chronic Inflammation in the Airways Linked to Anxiety
In a study conducted in mice, Penn State researchers found that the chronic lung inflammation that remains long after the immediate effects of an asthma attack caused by exposure to an allergen are over could be contributing to anxiety in people with asthma. The investigators noted changes in the brain consistent with anxiety in mice
with long-term inflammation in their airways similar to what is seen in humans with persistent asthma.