Recent research has found that there are different types of asthma either with or without allergic cells in the lung. People with asthma caused by allergic cells (called eosinophils or “eos”) respond much better to inhaled steroids than patients who have low levels of these allergic cells. Furthermore, patients with mild asthma who do not have eos may not need inhaled steroids at all. New technology allows us to quickly and inexpensively identify whether you have the allergic cells or not.
Inhaled steroids have been the mainstay of treatment for all types of asthma for over 30 years. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at different treatment options for patients with mild asthma based the presence of these allergic cells in the lung. What the authors found was that patients with high levels of allergic cells did better when taking inhaled steroids on a daily basis. They also found that patients with low numbers of the allergic cells often did not need inhaled steroids and some did better with another class of medicine that is not a steroid.
What Type of Asthma Do You Have?
The study noted above looked at allergic cells obtained from the lung using a technique called induced sputum. This somewhat invasive technique is difficult, expensive and time consuming and can be uncomfortable for the patient. So what can be done?
Finding Your Best Asthma Treatment
We can now indirectly measure the allergic cells using a lung function test called Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) which measures the Nitric Oxide (NiOx) coming from your allergic cells. A high level of NiOx indicates inhaled steroids are needed while a low level means you might be able to lower or eliminate your dose of inhaled steroids. We can now measure NiOx quickly, easily and inexpensively at our Main Office location to help you better manage your asthma.
If you want the most customized care of your asthma, call our office at (803) 973-7956 or complete the nearby contact form to schedule your appointment today. As a premiere allergy and asthma practice with Board Certified allergists, we can get to the root of your problem to best treat you.