Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and is caused mainly by allergic phenomena. “It is an immunological phenomenon and must be studied and diagnosed as such”: Professor Giorgio Walter Canonica, Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine: Asthma and Allergology in Humanitas and Professor of Humanitas University, guest study at Tg2 Medicina 33, stressed.

Early diagnosis is fundamental and must be carried out correctly: “In Italy, in about 50% of cases patients are diagnosed and treated without a respiratory function test. This, on the other hand, is very important because an asthmatic subject can also have normal breathing from a functional point of view, but if stimulated – as with this type of examination – bronchial hyperreactivity can be identified or not”, underlines Prof. Canonica.

“For some years now, it has also been possible to measure nitric oxide in the exhaled (i.e. exhaled air), a gas that assesses the presence or absence of inflammation at the bronchial level. This allows, with little invasion, to design and subsequently monitor a correct therapy”, added the specialist.

New guidelines for therapy

The new international guidelines on the treatment of asthma have recently been approved.

“This is a landmark change in asthma management. For decades we have treated the patients with the bronchodilator and short duration of action (salbutamol), but it has now been established – even in the guidelines – that since there is an inflammatory basis, the bronchodilator is not enough, but also requires an anti-inflammatory factor, i.e. the inhalation steroid in combination with formoterol (LABA-long-lasting bronchodilator), which acts as fast as salbutamol but lasts 12 hours, much longer than the old therapy (4 hours), with improvement of clinical symptoms and quality of life of the patient. The advantages compared to the previous treatments are consistent and finally the novelty is also reflected in the guidelines”, explained Professor Canonica.

Watch the complete interview here.