Updated on October 4, 2022
Overview – Is Asthma An Autoimmune Disease:
Frequent breathlessness and coughing can take a toll on one’s well-being. This could be an indication of Asthma. Is Asthma An Autoimmune Disease? Asthma can happen to people of any age and can range from mild to severe. Asthma is prevalent in the US with a frequency of 25 million affected individuals. It is a respiratory condition that impacts the lungs and results in swelling of the airways. There is no permanent cure for Asthma but it can be managed effectively with a proper treatment plan.
This blog will be focused on discussing the etiology, pathophysiology, and symptoms of Asthma. It will also focus on answering a frequently asked question that is, “Is Asthma an autoimmune disease?”
What Happens in Asthma?
Airway obstruction in Asthma is due to hyper responsiveness of airways. Numerous pathophysiologic variables contribute to asthma, including bronchiolar inflammation, airway resistance, and episodes of coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Each component of the lungs including the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles is susceptible to Asthma. Even when there are no outward signs or symptoms of asthma, inflammation can still be present. The question of “Is Asthma an Autoimmune Disease?” is answered as we see that it occurs due to inflammation in the airways.
Bronchoconstriction with bronchospasm can be caused by edema, excessive mucus, injury to the epithelium and muscles, and bronchospasms. Bronchospasm, which is characterized by abrupt spasms of the bronchial smooth muscle, narrows the airways, and edema from microvascular leakage also plays a role in this process. It is possible for airway capillaries to enlarge and leak, raising secretions, which in turn worsens mucus clearance and produces edema.
Along with the enlargement of mucus-secreting glands, asthma may also cause a rise in mucus-secreting cells. A blockage of the airway due to thick mucus plugs might result from increased mucus output. Epithelial peeling caused by epithelium damage may severely affect airway function. “Is asthma an autoimmune disease?” No, the airways become hyper-responsive as a result of the loss of the epithelium’s barrier function, which is a crucial aspect of Asthma. The severity of hyperresponsiveness is mostly influenced by the level of inflammation and the immune system’s reaction to the individual.
Additionally, Asthma results in the loss of enzymes that typically break down inflammatory mediators, which has repercussions on the sensory nerves’ reflexive neurological responses. Asthma may result in airway remodeling, which alters the cells and tissues of the lower respiratory tract and results in irreversible damage if not treated and controlled.
Classification of Asthma:
Asthma can be classified as:
It develops in childhood and symptoms arise after exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust, smoke, etc. It results in airway inflammation and obstruction.
It is more common in adults with obvious triggers. It is usually due to some secondary infection.
Is Asthma An Autoimmune Disease?
No, Asthma is not an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are those where the immune system begins to attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Asthma is a chronic lung condition as it primarily affects the lungs. The major triggers or causative factors for Asthma include pollen, dust, smoke, cold, etc. These triggers cause exacerbations by producing excessive mucus in the lungs. Symptoms of Asthma range from breathlessness to wheezing and chest tightness.
How Does Asthma Impact the Immune System?
As per researchers, people with Asthma have a repressed immune system and are more prone to catching infections. This answers the question of whether or not, “Is asthma an autoimmune disease?” However, some studies suggest that people with Asthma are less likely to get severe illnesses as compared to those who do not have Asthma or any respiratory condition.
Answering the question, “Is Asthma an Autoimmune disease?” Asthma is actually not an autoimmune condition. It can be prevented by appropriate care. To prevent Asthma, it is essential to be aware of your triggers that could hinder your day-to-day activities. This includes triggers that cause breathlessness, coughing, or wheezing. Asthma, as previously mentioned, can be controlled but not cured. There are a few things you can do to stop an asthma attack. These include:
Finding out what triggers your Asthma:
It’s crucial to identify your asthma triggers and take precautions to stay away from them. For several weeks, you can log your symptoms in a diary designed especially for people with asthma. Make a list of all the psychological and physical influences on your asthma. If you have an asthma attack, look back through your journal to see if anything might have caused it.
Attempting to avoid allergens:
Avoiding triggers is essential if you have Asthma and allergies. Your airways’ inflammation may momentarily get worse after exposure to allergens, which raises your risk of having an attack.
Avoiding smoking since asthma and smoke don’t mix well:
Symptoms can be considerably reduced by limiting your exposure to smoke of any kind, including that from cigarettes, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks. It is always preferable to prevent or stop smoking because it can make asthma symptoms worse.
Regular flu shots can aid in the prevention of asthma. You are more likely to get flu complications if you have asthma.
Taking the prescribed medications as directed:
The goal of long-term asthma therapies is to reduce episodes and symptoms. You still need to regularly take your medicines even if you are symptom-free. They’ll keep your Asthma under control and lessen airway irritation, making flare-ups less likely.
Treatment: Asthma Action Plan:
Healthcare experts worldwide create an Asthma Action Plan while taking the patient’s symptoms and worries into consideration. It is a manual or worksheet that aids those with the ailment in comprehending it and figuring out how to manage it should a flare-up occur.
All caregivers for children, including those in childcare facilities, schools, and after-care programs, should receive a copy of the Asthma Action Plan. It is written in a straightforward style that parents and school employees can easily understand.
To answer the question, “Is Asthma an autoimmune disease?”, contrary to popular belief, Asthma is not an autoimmune condition. It is a respiratory disorder that affects the airways in the lungs that aid in normal breathing. Asthma is considered to hinder routine life to a great extent. It lowers the productivity levels of the affected individuals and makes it difficult to perform basic chores. Resultantly affecting the quality of life.
It is vital to keep an eye on your symptoms and consult your physician if you notice any changes in your breathing pattern. Additionally, having a basic understanding of your condition can help you in managing your symptoms and live a healthy life.