Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Human Knowledge about Asthma. Is There a Treatment?

Considered by many as an often frightening experience, an asthma attack is something that sufferers of the condition or those who have loved ones with asthma should always be prepared for.
Asthma is a condition first recorded by the ancient Chinese. It was described in a 2600 BC text as "noisy breathing". It was only in 400 BC however that the term asthma was coined. Hippocrates used the Greek term "Asthma" which directly translates to "wind" because of the respiratory disease's occurrence whenever the wind blows therefore identifying the relationship of the condition to a person's environment. It has been suggested that Hippocrates was the first allergist. During the time of Alexander the Great, some of his men smoked an anticholinergic agent in the form of the herb stramonium to relax their lungs. This means that an asthma attack or asthma in general is definitely not new. Apart from the gasping or the breathlessness, it was also determined that this attack can happen after running or toiling. It was even mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi as breathlessness i.e. as said in the code, "If a man's lungs pant with his work." (1792-1750 BC)
In 50 AD, Pliny the Elder saw that it's not just the environment in particular that causes respiratory difficulty but certain things in particular - pollen being Pliny the Elder's culprit. Pliny suggested that those who suffer from asthma drink lots of wine for its ephedra content. But how does asthma work and how does the prodrug Prednisone help in relieving asthmatic patients?
Although asthma has been around for almost three millennia, there are still millions of people in the US alone who suffer from the condition. Science has come a long way however in understanding the triggers of asthma-associated breathlessness. One has to note though that this respiratory problem does not have a treatment and all doctors can do is to treat or alleviate its symptoms and to determine the triggers of attacks in patients with severe asthma. Do we know how asthma works though? To understand how it works one must know how normal lungs work. From the mouth and nose, air goes to the trachea - the tube that connects the mouth and the nose to the lungs. The lungs is divided into the right and left bronchus. The trachea wall is made up of very smooth muscle to keep the airways open. However in the case of those with asthma, whenever there is an allergen, these smooth muscles swell - making it difficult for air to pass through hence shortness of breath or for those with severe asthma breathlessness occurs.
Asthma is an incapacitating condition but thanks to drugs like Prednisone, those who have the respiratory inflammatory disorder can lead normal lives. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that helps in reducing inflammation that is why it is an effective medication given to patients suffering from respiratory problems that involves an inflamed trachea. Because of its ability to reduce or get rid of inflammation, Prednisone is also an effective treatment for other diseases that cause inflammation of certain parts of the body.

No comments:

Post a Comment