Shortness of breath or hunger for air and hissing along with coughing are typical symptoms of an asthma attack. It is a chronic inflammatory airway disease that can have different causes. The most typical is allergy, but it can also result from physical exertion, exposure to irritants (such as smog) or viral infections. Of all asthmatic patients, only 86% follow treatment. According to Professor Giorgio Walter Canonica, head of the Centre for Personalized Medicine, Asthma and Allergology in Humanitas and professor at Humanitas University, this situation requires more information and education.
Symptoms and Diagnostic Tests
“As for the symptoms, the asthma attack is characterized by hissing breath, hunger for air and difficulty breathing (which we call dyspnea), coughing, sometimes chest constriction – explained the professor. From a functional point of view we have the closure of the bronchus and an over-secretion of mucus, which further reduces the size of the airways, increasing the hunger for air. “First of all, it is necessary to collect the entire history of the patient – continued Canonica; then it is necessary to carry out a functional respiratory assessment and an allergological investigation. Today there are new possibilities, such as the so-called FENO, the analysis of the gas that is exhaled, which indicates whether there is a presence of bronchial inflammation depending on the assigned value.
The need for personalized therapy
Depending on the diagnosis, the most suitable therapy will be chosen for each individual patient, as well as the most appropriate inhaler for them: this is why we talk about personalized therapy. Treatment must prevent asthma seizures and also the progressive decline of lung function: for this reason, it is important to adhere scrupulously and continuously to the prescribed therapies. The drugs available today stabilize the situation and prevent crises from arising.