‘Asthma’ vulnerable to cold air, 10 questions 10 answers [코/목/귀 상담소]

O-Jin Kwon, an otolaryngologist, and Hidak are working together. [코/목/귀 상담소]. Hidak counselors will answer all your questions about nose, throat, and ear-related diseases.

Asthma is a typical seasonal respiratory disease. If you are an asthma patient, you should take extra care as your symptoms get worse in the weather with large temperature and humidity fluctuations like these days. However, some patients mistake asthma for pneumonia or a cold and do not receive proper treatment. Hidak Otolaryngology Consulting Doctor Ohjin Kwon (Ping ENT Clinic)“Asthma can lead to permanent lung damage if left unmanaged,” he advised. The following are 10 questions and 10 answers for Asthma of Director Oh-Jin Kwon.

Representative seasonal respiratory diseases, asthmaㅣSource: Getty Image Bank
Q1. What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic airway inflammatory disease that shows airway hypersensitivity and reversible airway obstruction due to an inflammatory response that occurs when the bronchi are exposed to specific triggers. When an allergen is inhaled, the immune system produces antibodies against it. After that, when the same causative substance is introduced into the bronchus, the generated antibodies activate the immune system and cause an inflammatory response.

Q2. What are the main symptoms of asthma?
Asthma causes swelling and narrowing of the bronchi due to an inflammatory reaction, and symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing when breathing, and chest tightness appear. These symptoms are characterized by exacerbation after a cold, after exercise such as running, or when cold air is inhaled.

Q3. Why is asthma called a seasonal disease?
As mentioned earlier, asthma is characterized by respiratory infections and exacerbation of cold air exposure. Therefore, the prevalence of respiratory diseases such as colds and flu is high, and symptoms often worsen during the changing seasons and winter, when exposure to cold air is easy.

Q4. What causes asthma?
Asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental factors include repeated respiratory viral infections, smoking and secondhand smoke, air pollution, and westernized eating habits. It can occur from childhood due to genetic factors, but it can also occur in adulthood due to environmental factors.

Q5. What tests are performed when asthma is suspected?
If you have suspected asthma symptoms, you should first perform a lung function test and a bronchial challenge test to confirm the diagnosis. In order to identify allergens, an allergic skin prick test or multiple allergen test (MAST), a blood test, is performed. Chest radiography, sputum testing, and bronchoscopy may also be done to differentiate other conditions that cause asthma-like symptoms.

Asthma Diagnosis Management MethodㅣSource: Getty Image BankAsthma Diagnosis Management MethodㅣSource: Getty Image Bank
Q6. If I am diagnosed with asthma, how should I manage it?
Patients diagnosed with asthma should first check the causative agent through testing and avoid exposure to it as much as possible. It is also important to avoid factors that can trigger asthma attacks, such as tobacco and chemicals. Regular exercise and obesity management can help with asthma, but breathing in the cold air can be dangerous. During the changing season, you should be careful about infectious respiratory diseases such as colds and flu, which are environmental factors of asthma. It is recommended to follow preventive measures such as flu vaccination and wearing a mask.

Q7. Can asthma be cured?
Basically, asthma is known to be a difficult disease to cure, but childhood asthma has a different course from that of adults. About 54% of children with asthma develop a spontaneous remission, in which asthma symptoms disappear spontaneously after puberty. The majority of patients who reach spontaneous remission are in a state of complete recovery that does not require treatment. On the other hand, adult asthma is difficult to cure. In adults, the symptoms may recur even after the symptoms disappear for a long time due to the causative agent.

Q8. Asthma in Children, Does the Symptoms Get Severe?
Allergic diseases have a concept called the ‘allergic march’. It is a concept that all three allergic diseases can be transferred from childhood to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, mainly due to genetic factors. In fact, children with severe allergic reactions may develop all three diseases. Therefore, for children with asthma, it is very important to manage them so that they do not progress to allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.

Q9. Asthma, how is it treated?
Asthma is treated with drug therapy, and the dosage form is various, such as inhalants, oral drugs, and injections. Among them, inhalants are mainly used because they have few side effects and are effective. Consistent use of inhaled drugs improves symptoms by consistently reducing inflammation in the bronchi. However, since it is not completely cured, the symptoms may recur if the drug is arbitrarily stopped.

Q10. Can it be cured naturally if left untreated?
Asthma is a disease that can prevent complications and symptom attacks through continuous treatment and effective environmental control. However, if left unmanaged, it can lead to persistent decline in lung function, leading to irreversible lung damage. This can lead to long-term oxygen treatment or death from respiratory failure.

Oh-Jin Kwon, Director (Pingi Otolaryngology Clinic)ㅣSource: Pingi Otolaryngology ClinicOh-Jin Kwon, Director (Pingi Otolaryngology Clinic)ㅣSource: Pingi Otolaryngology Clinic
Help = Hidak Consulting Doctor Ohjin Kwon

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