DIAGNOSE ASTHMA WITH A BLOOD TEST?

While some symptoms of asthma, like wheezing, are obvious, a diagnosis of asthma is not always clear cut, especially if they don’t occur when patients are with their doctors, and involve trials of lung function and tests for allergies. But one new test could possibly diagnose asthma with a single drop of blood.
In the study, researchers found that neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, of asthmatics move more slowly than the cells of those without asthma. The scientists have created a micro-fluidic, handheld device that can test how quickly these neutrophils migrate toward the source of inflammation; these white blood cells move toward wounds in the body, for example, and help start the healing process. But neutrophils of asthmatics are sluggish. Sucks to your ass-mar, neutros.
Previously it was impractical to use neutrophils, as it required a fair amount of blood, according to a statement from the University of Wisconsin, from which some of the researchers hail. But the new device, which is made of cheap plastic, can detect the speed at which the white blood cells are moving, and then automatically come up with a diagnosis. “The device can sort neutrophils from a drop of whole blood within minutes, and was used in a clinical setting to characterize asthmatic and non-asthmatic patients,” the researchers wrote in the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
If the device works, it could have wide application. The CDC says the number of Americans diagnosed with asthma increased by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009, and the condition now affects more than 300 million people worldwide.






WHAT TRIGGERS A DEADLY ASTHMA ATTACK?

One in 12 Americans have asthma, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of them – or if a family member is – you should be doing all you can to avoid the things that can trigger an asthma attack. Triggers vary from person to person, but keep clicking to see eight common ones…
-Tobacco smoke. People with asthma shouldn’t smoke, obviously. In addition, they should avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
-Dust mites. Dust mites are in just about everyone’s home, and they can cause big trouble for asthmatics. To reduce exposure to the mites, use mattress and pillowcase covers. Don’t use down-filled pillows, quilts, or comforters. And remove stuffed animals and clutter from bedrooms.
-Air pollution. Car exhaust, industrial pollutants, and other things that foul the air outside can trigger asthma attacks. So pay attention to air quality forecasts.
-Cockroaches. To limit exposure to asthma attack-causing roaches and their dander, keep your home scrupulously free of crumbs and other food sources.
-Pets. Furry pets can cause big problems for asthma sufferers. Best to find them a new home. If that’s not in the cards, the animal should at least be regularly bathed and trimmed – and kept out of the asthmatic’s bedroom. Frequent vacuuming and damp-mopping can help too.
-Mold. To keep airborne mold particles to a minimum, keep humidity in the home between 35 and 50 percent (in hot, humid climates, an air conditioner or dehumidifier might be necessary). Fix water leaks. They can promote the growth of mold behind walls and under floors.
-Infections. Flu, colds, and other respiratory infections can trigger an attack.
-Exercise. Strenuous physical exercise might be good for your heart and waistline – but not so good for your breathing.






Responding to an Asthma Attack

If someone is suspected of experiencing an asthma attack it is important to act quickly. People suffering asthma attacks can lose consciousness quickly making it more difficult to administer their medication. Follow these important key steps:
1. Comfort the Individual- Difficulty breathing can be extremely frightening and can cause the sufferer to go into shock, which is why acting quickly and offering reassurance is vital. Help the person get into a comfortable position for breathing and monitor their temperature to make sure they are not becoming too hot or too cold, which are both indicators of shock.
2. Assist with Medicine- The majority of the time people suffering an asthma attack have had one before so they know what needs to happen. For young children make sure parents provide directions on how to respond to their child’s asthma attacks.
3. Asthma Attacks with No Medication- In some rare cases a person may suffer an asthma attack and may not have been previously diagnosed with asthma. If this is the case it is usually a sign of a milder form of asthma since it has never previously manifested. Follow the same procedures in step one and help position them for comfortable breathing and monitor for shock.
4. Call for Help- If, after the administration of proper medication, the individual’s symptoms do not improve call 911.






Best Exercises and Sports for Asthma

So you’ve come to grips you have asthma, and now you’ve decided to heed the advice of the “asthma experts” and get your body in shape. Now you’re wondering, What are the best exercises for people with asthma?.
If you have asthma, exercise is even more important. It strengthens your lung muscles, which improves lung function. It strengthens your heart which makes you less winded with exertion. Over time, the more you exercise the more tolerant your heart and lungs become to the effects of exertion.
However, many of us have our limitations. We have to pick exercises that work best for people with asthma. So, listed here are six exercises that all asthmatics can participate in…
-Swimming: Way back in the 1980s I was told this was the best exercise for asthmatics. It’s good because the air around pools is moist and warm, and less likely to trigger asthma.
-Team sports:This would include activities such as Baseball, Football or Volleyball. You’ll only need to run while the ball is in play, yet you can still get a good workout.
-Martial Arts: This activity is generally done indoors, and the short movements are enough to get you in good shape, build muscle tone, and may also help you develop a sound mind and body.
-Yoga:Another activity that is generally done indoors, and also helps to relax your mind.
-Biking: If the weather is right, this is a great way to get in shape. You can also get a stationary bike for your home.
-Walking:This is safe in any environment.






Tips for Asthma in Winter

Exercise is a common trigger for asthma and may cause symptoms in 80-90% of asthmatics. Cold dry winter air can also make breathing difficult for asthmatics. Shortness of breath, wheezing, cough or chest tightness may result. The symptoms can occur during, just after or several hours after exercise.
Here are a few exercise tips for asthmatics during the winter season.
Avoid strenuous exercise in cold dry air, as cooling and drying of the bronchial airways can trigger an asthma attack.
Avoid winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating, especially if your asthma is not properly controlled.
Use your bronchodilator inhalers, such as albuterol, 20 minutes prior to exercise.
Keep your inhalers warm in order to avoid a cold aerosol spray.
Be sure to “warm-up” and “cool-down” after strenuous exercise.
When exercising in cold air, wear a scarf or facemask over the nose and mouth to warm the air you are breathing.
Be sure to drink plenty of liquids before and after exercise to prevent drying of the airways.
Exercise indoors when outdoor temperatures drop.
The best year-round exercise for asthmatics is swimming in an indoor heated pool.






If you have Asthma be carefull with Cold Air!

There are certain weather patterns that are known to cause problems for people with asthma. Winter is one of them. Cold air is a major trigger of asthma. Scientists have studied the effects of breathing cold air. People with asthma were made to inhale cold, dry air in a hospital experiment. They developed wheezing and became short of breath.
When you inhale a blast of cold air, your airways respond by going into bronchospasm. (Bronchospasm is contraction of the airways, which causes them to get narrow.) This is because of the severe temperature difference between the outside air and your airways. Think of what you might feel if you suddenly place your hand into a bucket of freezing cold ice water!
People who have exercise-induced asthma should be especially careful about exposure to cold, dry air. Popular outdoor winter sports like hockey, figure skating and skiing require spending a lot of time outdoors. And many runners continue to jog throughout the winter months. Pre-medicate yourself before beginning activities that cause asthma symptoms to worsen. Talk to your doctor about what medication is right for your particular need.
Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can take steps to avoid exposure to it.