current tests for asthma include physical examination and measuring of
lung capacity which may not be 100% accurate.
tests can be cumbersome and distressing and lead to misdiagnosis of the
condition and unwanted medication.
- The metabolic
profiling of saliva could be a one stop diagnosis for asthma.
test is painless and
provides information on the progression and severity of the condition.
Current techniques to diagnose asthma include a physical
examination of the eyes, nose, throat, ears, chest and lungs through x-ray.
Breathing tests known as lung function test which measures a person's lung
capacity are also performed for confirmation of diagnosis. Other methods of
testing can be through analysis of blood, urine and sputum. These methods can
often be inaccurate, cumbersome and distressing especially for children. They
also do not provide information on the underlying mechanisms associated with
A simple saliva test could be the 'one stop'
diagnosis for asthma
, which is
suitable for all ages. It is painless and can also provide information on the
severity of the condition. The test was developed by researchers at the
Loughnorough University in collaboration with Nottingham City Hospital.
‘The metabolic profiling of saliva could be used to provide an early diagnosis of asthma, and to monitor patients being treated for the disease.’
Dr. Samantha Walker,
Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said: "There is no single, simple
test to diagnose asthma because it is such a complex condition with many
different causes which we are yet to fully understand. This research suggests a
saliva test could potentially be a simple way to diagnose asthma in the future."
The research team, led by Professor Colin Creaser from
Loughborough's Department of Chemistry and Dr Dominick Shaw from the Respiratory
Research Unit at City Hospital
collected saliva from 30 patients, with and without
The saliva samples
were assessed for metabolic biomarkers by performing liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
The new test diagnoses
asthma by detecting the presence and the amount of the biomarkers. Sampling
methods used in the study had the potential to pinpoint the severity and
progression of the disease.
is a condition caused by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, the passageways that allow air
to enter and leave the lungs.
The airways become inflamed and secrete extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult
causes shortness of breath
is no cure for asthma and it is a life-long condition that has to be managed
with proper prevention strategies and treatment. One way to manage
is by avoiding triggers as much as possible.
- Around 100 to 150 million people
worldwide suffer from asthma with the number steadily rising. According
the Center for Disease Control, one in 14 people has asthma. Asthma kills around 180,000
America, the number of asthmatics has increased by 60% since 1980. Around
24 million Americans have asthma with children accounting for 8.6 % of the
cases and adults at 7.4 %.
5.4 million people in the UK currently receive treatment for asthma out of
which 1.1 million are children. 8% of the Swiss population and 4 million
people among the Germans are asthmatics.
Japan, 3 million people are diagnosed with asthma and in Australia, one in six children below 16 years of age are
- In India, 15-20 million people have asthma with a
prevalence of 10 to 15% among 5-11-year-old children.
Colin Creaser said "Unlike other sampling methods, such as
expired breath analysis, saliva can be collected by passive drool from the very
young to the very old without causing distress. We were therefore interested to know if techniques
for metabolic profiling of saliva to identify physiological stress from
exercise - developed by Loughborough - could be applied
to asthma diagnosis. We were very excited to discover that they
could." he added.
the effectiveness of the test can be validated and it can be offered in a larger clinical setting, successful long-term studies in much larger population are needed.
The findings were
published in the journal Analytical Methods
Common Triggers of
can be triggered by substances that cause allergy
, called allergens. The common allergens
include pollens, dust mites, rodents, cockroaches, animal fur etc.
When an allergen enters the body, it activates the immune
system. The immune system responds by releasing the immunoglobulin E (IgE)
which leads to inflammation of the airways, making breathing difficult. This
can trigger asthma attack.
in the air like smoke from cigarette, chemicals, smoke from fumes etc can
also trigger asthma.
asthma can occur as a part of respiratory illness like cold, flu, sinus infection and pneumonia.
triggers like grief, shock, crying, laughing, anger and excitement can
also cause asthma.
changes in weather and certain medicines are also associated with asthma.
- Exercise induced bronchoconstriction also triggers
asthma in people who are prone to it. Exercise demands increased supply of
oxygen to the body. As a result the person inhales through the mouth
causing the air to be cooler and dryer as compared to nasal inhalation.
The cool air causes the constriction or narrowing of the bronchial tubes,
making breathing difficult.
Management of Asthma
identification of the condition through proper physical examination by an
asthma specialist or allergist.
- Use of
appropriate long-term or quick relief medications depending on the
severity of the condition.
triggers which maybe environmental like cigarette smoke, pollens or dust,
emotional triggers or certain medications that irritate and inflame the
the quality of life through healthy diet, maintaining healthy weight,
exercise and immunizations.
- Asthma Basics - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/basics/definition/con-20026992)
- Asthma Information for Patients - (http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma.aspx)
- Bronchial Asthma - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs206/en/)