Radical New Asthma Treatment

Cynthia Dermody

lung ashtray
Flickr photo by SOCIALisBETTER

The only good thing about having asthma as a child was that I grew out of it as an adult, except when I get a really bad respiratory infection. When I was little, there was one treatment for asthma -- Marax syrup. Nasty-tasting stuff that; worse than pee (I'm guessing). It was only used for attacks; there were no such things as maintenance drugs to keep the condition under control.

It still sucks to have asthma, but at least today there are more options: A range of inhalers and pills, and now the first non-drug asthma procedure called Alair, rolling out this month at selected medical centers around the country. It's pretty good timing considering that it's also Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

It works by reducing the amount of inflammation and swelling of the airways that make it difficult for people to breathe during attacks.

Patients are treated several times on an outpatient basis using anesthesia. The doctor inserts a catheter fitted with an electric tip into the lung and delivers a form of a form of electromagnetic energy (called radio-frequency energy) directly to the airways. The system heats up the airways, reducing the thickness of smooth muscle.

According to Asthmatx, Alair's maker, a study done of some 300 people showed the following results:

  • 32 percent reduction in asthma attacks;
  • 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms;
  • 73 percent reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms;
  • 66 percent reduction in days lost from work/school or other daily activities due to asthma.

If this sounds like something you'd like to try, download this Alair brochure and show it to your doctor, and/or contact Asthmatx for more information.

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