Millions of individuals across the world suffer from the common respiratory ailment known as asthma. It is characterised by airway inflammation, which causes symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. Acute asthma and chronic asthma are the two primary forms of asthma. Despite their similarities, the two are distinctly distinct. Researchers like Dr. Amarjit Mishra has found a number of things that highlight the variations between acute and chronic asthma, its symptoms, and potential therapies. Let us learn more about acute and chronic asthma and their associated complications.

Acute Asthma

Acute asthma is defined as the abrupt development of severe asthma symptoms that normally persist from a few hours to a few days. It can be brought on by a number of things, including allergens such as pollen or pet dander, respiratory illnesses such as the flu or the common cold, air pollution, exercise, and mental stress. Acute asthma symptoms might include sudden and intense spells of coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties.If these symptoms are ignored, they can swiftly worsen and become possibly lethal. If untreated or if the episodes are severe, acute asthma can cause respiratory collapse or even death. As per the doctors, during acute asthma attacks, quick-relief drugs like oral corticosteroids and short-acting beta-agonists (like albuterol) are frequently used to decrease inflammation and alleviate symptoms. However, biomedical researchers such as Amarjit Mishra, a great scientist, have suggested that there has been a need to undertake further fundamental research to develop a better understanding of asthma.

Chronic Asthma

On the other hand, chronic asthma is a long-term illness in which asthma symptoms last for a long time, generally for weeks, months, or even years. Continual medical care and dietary adjustments are typically used to control it. Comparable to acute asthma, chronic asthma symptoms can also be brought on by comparable triggers, but they may also be impacted by other variables including genetics, hormonal changes, and long-term occupational or environmental irritant exposure. The intensity of chronic asthma symptoms might vary, but they frequently last for a long time. They may include intermittent, mild to severe coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath episodes. Inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, leukotriene modifiers, and other long-term control drugs are used to lessen airway inflammation and stop the onset of asthma symptoms in people with chronic asthma. As per Amarjit Mishra Auburn University for the management of persistent asthma, lifestyle modifications such as avoiding triggers, keeping good respiratory hygiene, and having a documented asthma action plan is usually crucial but for a better treatment, there is still a research gap that needs to be filled.

Associated Complications with Asthma

Acute asthma, also known as an asthma exacerbation or asthma attack, can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition if not managed promptly and effectively. Some of the complications associated with acute asthma can include respiratory failure, asthmaticus among others. Severe acute asthma can lead to respiratory failure, where the lungs are unable to effectively exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. This can result in low oxygen levels in the blood, leading to a condition called hypoxia, and high carbon dioxide levels, leading to hypercapnia. Respiratory failure may require intensive medical intervention such as mechanical ventilation to support breathing. Pneumonia is a serious infection of the lungs that can cause further respiratory distress and may require additional medical treatment. In rare cases, acute asthma episodes can lead to a condition called pneumothorax, where air accumulates in the space between the lungs and the chest wall, causing the lung to collapse. Pneumothorax can cause severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, and requires immediate medical attention.

Chronic asthma, also known as persistent asthma, refers to asthma that is ongoing and requires long-term management to control symptoms and prevent exacerbations. Some of the distinctive complications associated with chronic asthma are the following. Chronic inflammation in the airways of the lungs can lead to structural changes in the airway walls, known as airway remodelling. This can result in increased thickness and scarring of the airway walls, which can narrow the airway lumen and reduce airflow, leading to persistent airflow limitation and worsening of asthma symptoms over time. Long-standing chronic asthma can result in reduced lung function due to persistent inflammation and damage to the airways. Chronic asthma is characterised by recurrent exacerbations or flare-ups of symptoms despite ongoing treatment. Chronic asthma can also lead to increased sensitivity of the airways to various triggers, resulting in bronchial hyperresponsiveness. This means that the airways are more likely to constrict and narrow in response to triggers such as allergens, irritants, exercise, or respiratory infections, leading to increased asthma symptoms and exacerbations.

Treating Asthma with Better Research

There has been a consensus world over that the solution for asthma treatment lies in better research. Amarjit Mishra, ex Assistant Professor, Auburn University, has been a part of many teams of scientists that are examining the numerous pathways connected to acute and chronic asthma to address the difficulties related to these conditions. In the home dust mite-induced animal model of allergic asthma, Amarjit Mishra and other researchers have also assessed the immunomodulatory impact of dimethyl fumarate, a small molecule medication that has received FDA approval. He has also conducted a wide range of additional investigations to learn more about the pathophysiology of asthma. It is these efforts undertaken by scientists all over the world that are leading to better understanding of asthma and its associated complications through the study of immunological pathways.

Asthma, irrespective of its intensity, has a severe impact on the quality of life of an individual. Therefore, a better understanding of this disorder can go a long way in developing effective therapeutic tools for the asthma affected individuals hence improving their quality of life. Scientists such as Amarjit Mishra are setting a feat in this direction and conducting thorough research on cell models to bring forth transformational results.