Published on August 30, 2022   37 min

Other Talks in the Series: Allergy - From Basics to Clinic

Other Talks in the Series: Periodic Reports: Advances in Clinical Interventions and Research Platforms

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I'm Dr. William Busse. Amanda McIntyre and I are at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, Wisconsin. We have put together this talk on asthma. I will be making the presentation.
As an introduction, the first thing to know about asthma is that it is a common respiratory disease. It affects up to 10% of the population worldwide, and there are over 3 million patients with asthma. For most patients with asthma, the disease begins in early life, usually less than 6 years of age. This means that, for most individuals, asthma is a lifetime disease. As a consequence of being a lifetime disease and the severity of the disease, asthma can have a very large health care burden both for patients and for society. However, what is very important is the understanding that effective treatments are available. They're not only effective, but they are also safe and they can give long-lasting benefits in the control of asthma.
The first thing to do is to try to define asthma. Asthma is described as a heterogeneous disease. That means it is more than one disease. It's usually characterized by chronic airway inflammation, is also defined by a history of respiratory symptoms: wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. These are nondescript but they vary over time and they vary in intensity, and together a very important component is, that they lead to expiratory airflow limitation. The definition of asthma is very non-specific, but is characterized by having variable symptoms of cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. There are variabilities in the intensity of the disease but an underlying characteristic feature is airway inflammation.