Study analyzes the link between asthma and respiratory viruses



Advair users are, unfortunately, used to dealing with respiratory viruses.

Advair users are, unfortunately, used to dealing with respiratory viruses. From the common cold to the flu, people living with asthma tend to have more experience with breathing illnesses than others. But it's never been made completely apparent why someone who deals with asthmatic symptoms on a regular basis may be more susceptible for respiratory viruses, until now. 

The initial study
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, attempted to answer this question by extensively comparing people with and without asthma to see what it is that makes asthma sufferers more likely to deal with respiratory infections. After analyzing results of both subject groups, there was no difference between people with asthma and those without in the key immune responses to respiratory infections in the lungs and breathing passages. These outcomes led to a debate within the respiratory medical field that has been waging on for years.

Many health care professionals believe that proteins called interferons are the answer toward treating the relationship between asthma sufferers who inherit frequent respiratory viruses. Interferons are released by cells that are lined up through our airways, and get their name because of their essential ability of "interfering" with unwanted diseases. The debate in question arises from many physicians wondering if people with asthma interferons are less effective than others.

The great debate
The researchers then focused their study specifically on interferons, performing elaborate analyses of both asthma and non-asthma subjects to see how the proteins behaved when administered with two common airway viruses, influenza A and respiratory syncytial virus. After comparing the effectiveness of interferons in both subjects, the results frustrated researchers even more. Overall, they discovered that both the interferons within each group essentially acted the same towards infections, indicating that inefficient proteins was not the answer when trying to figure out why asthma patients are more susceptible to respiratory infection.    

Dr. Michael J. Holtzman, a researcher at the Selma and Herman Seldin Professor of Medicine and lead author in the study, essentially debunked the myth that interferon inefficiency is to blame when it comes to heightened illnesses with asthma patients.

"One school of thought says there is a defect in interferon production - that patients with asthma don't produce enough interferon," Holtzman said in a statement. "Whatever is causing asthmatics and non-asthmatics to experience differences in how well they recover from these respiratory infections - why patients with asthma are more likely to end up in the hospital, for example - this interferon mechanism is not the deciding factor based on what we've seen so far."

Preventing respiratory infections
While further research needs to be done in order to figure out why asthma sufferers and respiratory viruses go hand-in-hand, taking the necessary precautions to prevent infection is still of an utmost importance. Respiratory care starts with your at-home environment, which should always be inspected and cleaned whenever you come across excess dust, mildew or mold. Make sure your ventilation systems are working properly to, especially if you're someone who cooks often inside your house. 

You also need to make sure you know the warning signs of respiratory infection, so you can begin treatment as quick as possible. The Cleveland Clinic states to watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Coughing green or yellow colored mucus
  • Frequent episodes of fatigue or weakness
  • Constant sore or scratchy throat
  • Extreme experiences of sinus drainage or nasal congestion

As for asthma symptoms, a prescription to Advair has been a proven line of defense against breathing restrictions that can also lead to respiratory infections. Remember that you can always buy Advair from Canadian pharmacies whenever your prescription expires.