CAN ASTHMA BE CURED?

Asthma is an eminently controllable illness. Indeed, for most sufferers, control is so effective that it amounts to a virtual cure. But asthma is not curable in the same way as, say, a bacterial pneumonia; it never entirely goes away. Also, no one cure would ever suffice. It is becoming increasingly clear that there many types of asthma–and they differ greatly in their presentation and genesis. For example, asthma that presents as a chronic cough, the “cough variant of asthma,” appears to be very different from the life-threatening variety, which results in extreme respiratory failure and sometimes death.
Nevertheless, the sine qua non of asthma–as we understand it today–is the increased sensitivity of the airways to many different agents. These agents include respiratory viruses (common cold virus), pollutants (ozone and cigarette smoke), airborne allergens (animal dander, pollens and molds) and exercise, especially in a cold and dry environment. These agents, called triggers, induce an inflammatory reaction in the airways that, in turn, results in the common symptoms of cough, wheezing, increased mucus production and shortness of breath. Successful control of asthma entails controlling the inflammation in the airways and reversing the symptoms before they get out of hand.
The greatest advances in controlling asthma may be the change in physicians’ attitudes toward using preventive medications, as well as attempts to make home rescue plans more aggressive and self-sufficient. The availability of selective and potent medications has made such changes possible. By avoiding known triggers in the environment, such as cigarette smoke, dust mites, roach antigens and dander from warm-blooded pets like cats and dogs, patients can help minimize airway inflammation. Also, newer, tighter and more energy-efficient homes, forced-air heating and wall-to-wall carpeting all contribute to higher levels of indoor triggers.






LIMIT ASTHMA ATTACKS CAUSED BY COLDS

A cold or the flu can trigger an asthma attack. Here’s why — and how to keep your sneeze from turning into a wheeze.
Respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu, are one of the most common causes of asthma flare-ups, especially in young children.
A stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, fever, or other signs and symptoms caused by a cold or flu (influenza) virus can be a nuisance. But if you have asthma, even a minor respiratory infection can cause major problems. Asthma signs and symptoms, such as wheezing and chest tightness, may not respond as well to regular asthma medications. Also, asthma symptoms caused by a respiratory infection may last for several days to weeks.
There’s no sure way to keep yourself or your child from getting a cold or the flu. But taking steps to avoid getting sick — and taking the right steps when you do — can help.
Preventing colds and the flu
Take these steps to help you avoid getting sick:
-Get an annual flu shot unless your doctor recommends against it. Most adults and children older than 6 months old should get a flu vaccination every year. If you do get a vaccination, you’ll need a shot (injection), since nasal spray vaccinations, such as FluMist, aren’t recommended for people with asthma. You or your child may need vaccinations for more than one type of flu virus.
-Ask your doctor if you need a pneumonia vaccination. Most people need to get this vaccination only one time, but in some cases a booster shot is needed.
-Avoid contact with anyone who’s sick. Germs that cause respiratory infections are easily passed from person to person.
-Wash your hands often. This kills the germs that can cause respiratory infections. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer to kill germs while you’re on the go.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These are the points where germs that can make you sick enter your body.
-Stay in shape. Regular exercise may help you avoid getting sick.






PAD: Hidden Problem in Women

Women tend to develop symptoms of peripheral artery disease in their 60s and 70s—a decade later than men. By then, women may have other conditions like arthritis or nerve damage that can mask the symptoms and delay diagnosis until the disease is fairly far advanced. If you have any of the symptoms listed bellow ask your doctor if you should have a workup for peripheral artery disease. Early action can make you feel better, and keep your arms and legs functioning.
If ever a disease deserved a new name, peripheral artery disease is it. “Peripheral” smacks of something on the sidelines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peripheral artery disease affects at least 12 million Americans, more than heart disease and stroke combined. It kills some, maims others, and makes life disagreeable or unbearable for countless more. The condition is often overlooked or misdiagnosed in women, according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
Although peripheral artery disease us ually affects the legs, it can also affect the arms. Symptoms include:
pain, cramping, or heaviness with exercise or movement that subsides with rest
painful, cold, numb, or tingling legs or hands
sores on the legs, feet, arms, or hands that don’t heal.

Any of these symptoms warrant a closer look. Peripheral artery disease is generally diagnosed with a test called the ankle-brachial index, which compares blood pressure in the arm with blood pressure at the ankle.
Lifestyle changes are often the first step in fighting peripheral artery disease. Exercise can help open arteries and improve blood flow. Managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and not smoking, are also important.