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Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease in which your airways narrow down and start secreting mucus that will further worsen the obstruction.

Symptoms of asthma vary significantly; for some people, it is a mere nuisance and for others, it’s a debilitating problem with major consequences.

The exact etiology (cause) of asthma isn’t fully understood; however, it is believed that it’s the result of genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

Unfortunately, asthma does not have a cure and all we can do is control the symptoms to improve patients’ quality of life.

Allergy

Unlike asthma, allergy is much broader and includes a wide range of diseases.

Allergy is defined as the exaggerated immune response to a harmless environmental substance. These reactions are called hypersensitivity reactions.

Medical conditions that fall under the umbrella term of allergy include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), atopic dermatitis (eczema), food allergies, etc.

How asthma and allergy are connected

Aside from the fact that both conditions will make your life miserable, asthma and allergy are more intertwined than you think.

As we mentioned earlier, allergy is not a single disease, it’s a whole range of diseases that are triggered by allergens.

Studies have shown that the same substances that cause allergy (e.g. hay fever) are capable of causing asthma.

After all, asthma is nothing but a hypersensitivity reaction that takes place inside the airways of the lungs.

The most common type of asthma is allergic asthma, where symptoms are triggered by environmental substances such as tree pollen.

However, other types of asthma do exist; they include post-exertional asthma, asthma triggered by cold air, asthma triggered by gastroesophageal reflux, and asthma that is triggered by infections.

 

How polyphenols help with asthma

 

Polyphenols can help with asthma and allergy

 

Due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-allergic properties; polyphenols and their effect on asthma were the subjects of multiple studies.

It was found that flavonoids (a class of the polyphenols family) have positive effects on asthma prevalence, incidence, and the severity of symptoms. However, conformational epidemiological studies and clinical trials are limited.

Additionally, flavonoids were found to have beneficial effects on allergic rhinitis as well, which is often associated with asthma.

Even though the data available supports the claim that polyphenols and in particularly flavonoids can be beneficial to the prevention and treatment of asthma, well-designed unbiased studies and trials are needed.

How polyphenols help with allergy

Similar to asthma, long-term polyphenols administration has been shown to be effective in decreasing the prevalence as well as the severity of numerous allergic reactions such as food allergy, atopic dermatitis, and even anaphylactic shock.

The mechanism of action polyphenols exerts on the immune system to produce such results is quite complicated and isn’t fully understood.

It involves the downregulation of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as decreasing the release of other inflammatory mediators such as histamines and prostaglandins.

Conclusion

Asthma and severe allergic reactions are considered a serious concern in the medical field because of the high rate of mortality and severe morbidity.

Both of these medical conditions are caused by hypersensitivity reactions that in return, do not have a clear cause.

The interest around polyphenols as potential preventive treatment is at the rising, especially in patients with higher risk (e.g. having a family history of atopy) of developing severe allergic reactions and/or asthma.

Once a patient develops asthma or allergy towards something in the environment, it’s too late. And that’s exactly the reason why polyphenols could be the next breakthrough in the preventive treatment of asthma sparing patients from lifelong suffering as well as saving the health economy billions of dollars every year.

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