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Asma Severa

¿Qué es y cómo se trata?

El aire entra y sale de los pulmones a través de las vías respiratorias, que tienen paredes rodeadas de un tejido muscular liso. Las personas con asma tienen más tejido muscular liso en las vías respiratorias que las que no padecen esta enfermedad. Entonces, una crisis asmática se caracteriza por la inflamación y constricción de ese músculo que rodea las vías respiratorias en los pulmones, estrechándolas e impidiendo que el aire pase normalmente.

¿Cuáles son las causas?

No está claro qué provoca el asma. Según las investigaciones hay diversos factores genéticos, ambientales y hasta psicológicos que interactúan para causar esta patología, generalmente en la primera infancia. Puede haber desde una tendencia hereditaria, hasta el contacto con ciertas sustancias que produzcan alergias en los primeros meses o años de vida. Así mismo, hay elementos irritantes en el aire (por ejemplo, el humo de tabaco o de chimeneas industriales) que pueden provocar fuertes reacciones en las vías respiratorias.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas?

Quien está sufriendo una crisis asmática puede sentir presión en el pecho, jadear y toser, además de tener dificultad para respirar. El asma puede ser imprevisible y limitar muchos de los aspectos de la vida de esa persona, desde la actividad física hasta el trabajo, la escuela o el tiempo que se disfruta con amigos y familia.

¿Cómo se realiza el diagnóstico?

Hay diversas pruebas para llegar a un diagnóstico certero.

En primer lugar el médico ausculta el pecho para oír sus sonidos respiratorios y buscar indicios de asma o alergias como sibilancias, congestión nasal o inflamación de las vías respiratorias nasales.

También puede realizarle pruebas como la espirometría, que mide el aire que puede entrar y salir de los pulmones para ver cómo están funcionando, o pedir que se efectúe un test para detectar alergias.

¿En que consiste el tratamiento? 

Los medicamentos para tratar el asma a corto plazo, ofrecen un alivio temporario al relajar el músculo de las vías respiratorias para evitar que las obstruya durante una crisis, pero no siempre funcionan en personas que tienen asma grave.

Un nuevo enfoque para el tratamiento de este problema es la termoplastía bronquial, un procedimiento ambulatorio que utiliza un calor suave para reducir el exceso del tejido del músculo liso en las vías respiratorias. De esta manera, las vías sufren menos opresión, respirar resulta más fácil y existe una baja la probabilidad de sufrir una crisis asmática. Además, se reduce la necesidad de realizar un tratamiento oral con esteroides, que poseen efectos colaterales.

La termoplastía bronquial no reemplaza a los medicamentos para tratar el asma. En cambio trabaja en combinación con estos remedios para ofrecer mayor protección y a más largo plazo, de los síntomas de asma aguda. En un estudio clínico, el 79 % de los pacientes con asma aguda tratados con este procedimiento informaron mejoras importantes en su calidad de vida relacionada con el asma.

Prevención 

El asma no se puede prevenir, pero si aparecen indicadores en la infancia se pueden tomar medidas para controlar la enfermedad y prevenir los síntomas. Por ejemplo, identificar y tratar de evitar los desencadenantes del asma (como sustancias alérgenas) y hacerse chequeos periódicos.