The Disease of Asthma Essay
1388 Words6 Pages
Asthma is a lung disease that affects approximately ten million people in the United States. (Cramer 2) In people with asthma, the airways of the lungs are hypersensitive to irritants such as cigarette smoke or allergens. When these irritants are inhaled, the airways react by constricting, or narrowing. Some people with asthma have only mild, intermittent symptoms that can be controlled without drugs. In others, the symptoms are chronic, severe, and sometime life threatening. Although researchers have learned more about the underlying causes of asthma in recent years, a definitive treatment is still unavailable. In the last decade, asthma deaths worldwide have rose 42%. (Cramer 2) The reasons for this increase are not clear; however,…show more content…
The airway walls also swell, causing inflammation and further obstruction. As the airways become increasingly obstructed, oxygen cannot reach the small air sacs; blood levels of oxygen drop, and the body’s tissues and organs become oxygen deprived. At the same time carbon dioxide cannot escape the small air sacs for exhalation; blood levels of carbon dioxide increase, and exert a toxic effect on the tissues and organs of the body. Most of the time asthma is caused by, inhaling an allergen that sets off a chain of reactions. “Once asthma is present, symptoms can be set off or made worse if the patient also has rhinitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose) or sinusitis.” (Cramer 3) Acid reflux for some reason can also make asthma worse. A viral infection of the respiratory tract, aspirin, and a drug called beta-blockers (often used to treat high blood pressure) can also inflame an asthmatic reaction. (Cramer 3) In addition to cigarette smoke and various allergens, other triggers can cause asthma attacks. A cold, or other upper respiratory infections may bring on an asthma attack. Strong emotions, such as excitement, tension, or anxiety, may trigger asthma symptoms. Even exercise and extreme weather conditions, such as very cold, very hot, or very humid weather, can cause an asthma attack. Environmental exposures, such as pollution and ozone levels can
In November 2017, AstraZeneca's Fasenra (benralizumab) was approved for severe eosinophilic asthma. Fasenra is an interleukin-5 receptor monoclonal antibody used as an add-on maintenance treatment. Fasenra is given initially as a subcutaneous injection once every 4 weeks for the first 3 doses, then once every 8 weeks. It is available in a prefilled syringe.
Eosinophilic asthma patients have limited treatment options and often rely on oral steroids to manage their symptoms, which can lead to serious side effects. Elevated levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, are seen in about half of severe asthma patients and results in inflammation, increased asthma severity, decreased lung function and increased risk of exacerbations.
In studies, Fasenra reduced the annual asthma exacerbation rate by up to 51% compared to placebo. Other results included a significant improvement in lung function (FEV1), a 75% median reduction in use of oral steroids, a 52% discontinuation rate of oral steroids, and a favorable side effect profile.