Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Inhaled Corticosteroids increase Diabetes Mellitus Risk

Inhaled corticosteroids are widely used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, these drugs may be associated with diabetes development and progression. In a study published in the most recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that inhaled corticosteroids were associated with a 34% increase in the rate of diabetes onset and in the rate of diabetes progression. At the highest inhaled doses the risk increased by 64% in diabetes onset and 54% in diabetes progression.

Although inhaled corticosteroids are recommended only for patients with the most severe COPD, current practice has led to their use in less severe cases. In fact, over 70% of all patients with COPD are using inhaled corticosteroids. Since COPD and diabetes tend to increase with age, it is particularly important to assess any possible interaction between inhaled corticosteroid use and deterioration in glycemic control.

Nasal Congestion can mean Severe Asthma

Nasal congestion can be a sign of severe asthma, which means that healthcare professionals should be extra vigilant when it comes to nasal complaints. Furthermore, more severe asthma appears to be more common than previously thought, reveals a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy's Krefting Research Centre.

Published in the online scientific journal Respiratory Research, the population study included 30,000 randomly selected participants from the west of Sweden and asked questions about different aspects of health.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is Your Asthma Well-Controlled? Find out with Asthma PACT!

Use the free Asthma PACT™ (Personalized Assessment and Control Tool) to discover if your (or your child’s) asthma is under control, and learn ways to improve your quality of life.
What is the Asthma PACT™?  
  • Personalized Assessment and Control Tool
  • Free service to improve asthma control
  • User friendly surveys that are easy to complete
  • Personalized reports tailored to your responses
  • Accurate, current, useful health information
  • Helpful solutions to improve asthma control
  • Free educational resources
What can I do with the PACT?

  • Access the PACT: Available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Save the PACT: Return to complete if interrupted
  • Print the PACT: Keep a copy for your records
  • Share the PACT: Key points to discuss with your health care provider
  • Retake the PACT: Return every 3 to 6 months to measure your progress
NEXT: Are you ready to take the PACT? Click Here 

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Guidelines Call for Increase in Vitamin D


New guidelines for vitamin D  call for increasing the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone aged 1-70, and raising it to 800 IU for adults older than 70 to optimize bone health.

The guidelines, released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), also raised daily calcium RDAs.

The new guidelines call for a recommended dietary allowance of 700 milligrams of calcium per day for children aged 1 through 3, 1,000 milligrams daily for almost all children aged 4 through 8, 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day for adolescents aged 9 through 18, and 1,000 milligrams for all adults aged 19 through 50  and men until age 71. Women starting at age 51 and men and women aged 71 and older need 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day.

The majority of Americans and Canadians are getting sufficient vitamin D and calcium, the new guidelines state. Some adolescent girls aged 9-18 may fall below the daily recommended level of calcium intake, and some elderly people may have an inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D.

New Food Allergy Guidelines Out

Comprehensive new guidelines on food allergies are out from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The new guidelines are directed at doctors to help them diagnose and manage food allergies.
Experts say food allergies appear to be on the rise, affecting nearly 5% of children younger than 5 and about 4% of teens and adults.

''We hope the guidelines will help patients and family members work better with their physician'' to identify the causes of food allergies, said Matthew Fenton, PhD, chief of the asthma, allergy, and inflammation branch of the division of allergy, immunology and transplantation at NIAID. He spoke at a Friday news conference detailing the new guidelines and led the guidelines development project for NIAID.

The guidelines address diagnostic tests, treatment, and prevention, among other areas.
While the guidelines are aimed at doctors, it will help parents and those with food allergies to be aware of their existence, said Hugh Sampson, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who serves on the guidelines coordinating committee and also spoke at the news conference. "When they see their physician or request a referral to an allergist, they should know what type of questions will be asked of them and have some idea of what kind of tests their physician will be doing."


Food Allergy Guidelines: Back Story

A coordinating committee representing 34 professional medical organizations, advocacy groups, and federal agencies oversaw the guidelines development.

Then, a 25-member expert panel was selected; it pored over published literature and drew on clinical opinions to draft the guidelines.

Public comment was invited before the final guidelines were issued.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black Seed Oil and Asthma

Asthma is thought to be caused by a number of environmental and genetic factors and is heavily influenced by the immune system. New research has shown that the oil of a tiny black seed from Western Asia may be the key to both the prevention and treatment of immune-related Asthma.

The Nigella sativa (black seed) oil contains over 100 known health-promoting properties including a wide range of the most potent antioxidants, B vitamins, 15 amino-acids, essential fatty acids, and an array of vital organic minerals. However, researchers believe that it is a substance called ‘nigellone’ that may be the real hero as it protects sufferers from histamine-induced bronchial spasms and significantly relieves the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and general coughing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Montelukast (Singulair)

Montelukast is used as a long-term (maintenance) treatment to prevent or treat asthma. It may also be used in people older than 14 years to prevent asthma brought on by exercise (bronchospasm).This medication is also used to treat allergic rhinitis, also known as allergies or hay fever.Montelukast works by blocking certain substances (leukotrienes) in the body. This effect helps to decrease symptoms (e.g., breathing problems, sneezing, stuffy/runny/itchy nose) caused by asthma or allergies.


Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking montelukast and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. This medication can be taken before/during/after a meal. If you are taking this medication for ongoing asthma, take your dose in the evening. If you are taking this medication for allergies (allergic rhinitis), take your dose at about the same time each day (either morning or evening). If you are taking this drug for both asthma and allergies, take your dose in the evening.For ongoing asthma or allergies, use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.If you are taking this medication to prevent asthma brought on by exercise, take your dose at least 2 hours before exercise. Do not take a dose before exercise if you are already taking this medication daily. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.This medication does not work immediately and should not be used for sudden attacks of breathing trouble. If you have asthma, your doctor must prescribe a quick-relief medicine/inhaler (e.g., albuterol/salbutamol) for sudden shortness of breath/asthma attacks while you are on this medication. You should always have a quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.Consult your doctor promptly if you have worsening of asthma symptoms or if you need to use your quick-relief inhaler more often than usual (4 or more puffs daily or use of more than 1 inhaler every 8 weeks).Do not decrease or stop any asthma medicine unless instructed to do so by the doctor.This medicine may come with a patient information leaflet. Read it carefully. If any of the information is unclear, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Omalizumab for Asthma

Omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech) is a recombinant humanized IgG1 monoclonal anti-IgE antibody that binds to the IgE molecule at the same epitope on the Fc region that binds to FcεRI.11,12 This design means that omalizumab is not anaphylactogenic, since it cannot interact with IgE that is already bound to cell surfaces and thus cannot induce degranulation of mast cells or basophils.8,13 Instead, omalizumab binds to circulating IgE, regardless of allergen specificity, forming small, biologically inert IgE–anti-IgE complexes without activating the complement cascade.8,12,14 An 89 to 99 percent reduction in free serum IgE (i.e., IgE not bound to omalizumab) occurs soon after the administration of omalizumab, and low levels persist throughout treatment with appropriate doses.14,15 Proof-of-concept studies have shown that omalizumab reduces both early- and late-phase asthmatic responses after allergen inhalation challenge,16 has a marked effect on late-phase as compared with early-phase skin responses,17 decreases eosinophil numbers in sputum18 and submucosal bronchial specimens,18 and also down-regulates FcεRI on basophils,19 mast cells,20 and dendritic cells.21 A reduction in the expression of FcεRI on basophils and mast cells decreases the binding of circulating IgE, thus preventing the release of inflammatory mediators. A reduction in the expression of FcεRI on dendritic cells may decrease allergen processing and presentation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hayfever Symptoms And Remedies.

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic inflammation where the individual nasal airways becomes blocked when dust, allergen or pollen grains attack the nasal path. Most of the time, people with weak immunity are more susceptible to pollenosis. When the pollens or dust goes into the the body, it triggers the production of antibodies.

These antibodies contain histamine is a nitrogen compound that regulates the physiological function and acts as neurotransmitter in the physiology. The pollenosis is classified in various categories such as tree pollen allergies, pollen allergies, animal allergies, dust mite allergies, perennial allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eye Allergies

An eye allergy that affects the conjunctiva, a clear layer of skin overlying the eyes, is commonly referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis is divided into several major subtypes, but the most common subtypes are seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) and perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC). SAC and PAC are triggered by an immune reaction involving a sensitized individual and an allergen. Simply stated, this means that if you are allergic to a particular substance and then come into contact with it, you experience an allergic reaction (symptoms like itching and sneezing).

Although it frequently occurs, allergic conjunctivitis is most commonly seen in areas with high seasonal allergens.

Causes of Eye Allergies

Eye allergies often affect the conjunctiva, a clear layer of skin overlying the eyes. This clear layer of skin is the same type of skin that lines the inside surface of the nose. Because these two areas are so similar, the same allergens (substances that induce an allergic reaction) can trigger the same allergic response in both areas.

Asthma And Panic Attacks

Asthma and panic attacks often go hand in hand. Studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between the two and people having asthma are often more prone to panic attacks. The finding is significant in the sense that it could pave new ways for asthma treatment. According to these studies, a person with asthma is 4.5 times more likely to have panic attacks than those who do not have the disease. Vice versa, people who suffer panic attacks are more likely to develop asthma in course of time.

The problem here is that it is often difficult to distinguish between asthma and panic attacks. Panic attacks are not life-threatening, but asthma is. So, if a person has both, he or she should be extremely careful. It has been observed that an asthma attack can cause such anxiety that it may easily cause a panic attack, making the asthma attack even worse and forming a terrible cycle. In both asthma and panic attacks, the victim finds breathing difficult and loses the ability to think and remain calm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

WeatherMD Helps You Manage Environmental Triggers of Disease

AccuWeather is now offering an iPhone app that helps translate current and forecast conditions into medically relevant information. WeatherMD provides weather/health maps and charts that predict how conditions will influence people with a number of relevant ailments. Probably most useful for people with conditions like hay fever, asthma, and arthritis, it is also practical for anyone planning to exercise outdoors. The app costs $4 and currently only provides info for US locations. 

You'll appreciate accurate forecasts and current conditions that include wind speed and direction, sky conditions, as well as patented RealFeel temperature, Healthy Heart Exercise, and Running indices so you know how to plan and dress for your daily run or bike ride.

Neti Pot for Sinus

With increasing pollution and chemicals in our environment, there is an enormous rise in the number of people who suffer various forms of nasal congestion and respiratory illnesses. 

Alternative health practitioners throughout the world recommend the regular practice of nasal cleansing using a saline solution as part of a regular regimen of health and wellness, a basic health-maintenance activity equal to flossing your teeth.  

Neti is a gentle, safe, efficient way to deliver a good cleansing dose of saline to the nose. Although the practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, today there are numerous people in Europe and the United States who use this simple technique as part of their daily routine.

Asthma Differs in Rich, Poor Countries

The link between childhood asthma and allergies may be twice as strong in rich nations compared with poorer countries.

That's according to a new study from researchers including Gudrun Weinmayr, PhD, of Germany's Ulm University.

They gathered data on more than 54,000 children aged 8-12 in 22 countries worldwide, including study centers in the U.K., Ghana, India, Brazil, China, Sweden, and Ecuador.

Some of the kids lived in big cities. Others lived in rural areas. Their parents reported the children's asthma symptoms. More than half of the kids also got allergy skin tests.

Spray Cleaners May Up Asthma Risk

Using spray home cleaning products, even as little as once a week, may increase an adult's risk for developing asthma symptoms, a new study shows.

Frequent use of aerosolized chemical cleaners has previously been linked to asthma in cleaning professionals. But the new study is the first to examine the impact of exposure to spray cleaners on home users.

Researchers concluded that use of spray household cleaners may be an important contributor to asthma in adults.

The risk of developing asthma increased with the frequency of use and the number of different products used, but on average regular use of spray cleaners and air fresheners was found to be associated with a 30% to 50% increase in asthma risk.

Researcher Jan-Paul Zock, PhD, says this finding means that as many as one in seven asthma cases in adults may be caused by the use of spray cleaners.

"These findings must be confirmed, but it is clear that people need to use caution when they use these products," he says.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wheezing With Colds Raises Risk of Asthma

Infants and toddlers who wheeze when they are sick with colds have a big risk of developing asthma later in childhood, a new study shows.

Wheezing with rhinovirus infection during the first three years of life was associated with a tenfold increase in asthma risk by age 6, researchers from the University of Wisconsin report.
Nearly 90% of the children in the study who wheezed with rhinovirus infection during their third year of life had a diagnosis of asthma three years later.

There are more than 100 identified rhinoviruses that are known to cause colds, but until now, these viruses have not been strongly associated with asthma risk, the study's principal investigator tells WebMD.

Instead, much attention has been focused on another common infectious agent, known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Young children who are hospitalized with RSV infections have a high risk of developing asthma later in childhood.

"When we started this study we fully expected to find that RSV was the big culprit, but that is not what we found," says Robert F. Lemanske Jr., MD.

Electrical Stimulation Eases Asthma Attack

Here’s a shocking way to help asthma patients catch their breath during a sudden and severe attack: Deliver tiny electrical impulses under the skin in the neck.

Researchers from five U.S. institutions have found that electrical stimulation can safely be used to open the airways during an acute asthma attack when traditional medications do not work. According to the American Lung Association, about 23 million Americans are living with asthma.

The small study involved four conscious and responsive adults aged 26 to 58 who visited a hospital emergency room during a moderate-to-severe asthma attack and whose symptoms did not improve after using inhalers and powerful anti-inflammatory (steroid) medications. Such treatments were considered a failure if the patient scored 70% or less on a lung function test that measured how much air could be forced out of the lungs after taking a deep breath. This is called force expiratory volume, or FEV. The amount of air forced out in the first second is known as FEV1.