New Delhi (India), May 25: COVID-19 increased the risk for incident respiratory symptoms vs matched patients without COVID-19 at a rapid rate. The researchers found patients with asthma post-acute COVID-19 had a significantly higher risk for cough, bronchospasm, shortness of breath, and wheezing vs patients without an asthma history. As a result, it was advised for people to be more cautious if they experienced any Asthmatic symptoms.
Asthma is an allergic response in our airways or breathing passages due to any kind of stimuli that may trigger a reaction in our breathing passages leading to cough, breathlessness, chest tightness, and other such kinds of symptoms. The diagnosis and treatment of Asthma are done by a Pulmonologist or doctors who specialize in Pulmonary medicine. Pulmonologists saw an increase in people coming with lung-related problems after 2020 and 2021.
A simple and straightforward clinical application for testing Asthma came up called FeNO test. FeNO stands for Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide. It is a test done to mark the airway inflammation eosinophil which is a blood cell that gets increased in allergic inflammation such as allergic Asthma. Eosinophils release a certain chemical known as nitric oxide which can be measured in the patient’s breath by a test called FeNO. This test can be done in people suggestive of Asthma. If the FeNO value is elevated, it indicates that the patient will show an excellent response to a special group of medicines called inhaled corticosteroids.
We spoke to Dr. SK Chhabra, a leading Pulmonologist spoke to us about the importance of FeNO Testing “FeNO is excellent for differentiating if a person has normal airways or inflamed airways. The cutoff between a normal person and an asthmatic is 25-50. Above 50 is surely asthmatic and less than 25 may be a normal person or an asthmatic patient who has been adequately treated. FeNO also helps in deciding if the person will respond to some medicines and comply with a treatment which is helpful in figuring out the correct action plan. In case the patient is not responding to treatment then the drugs may be inadequate. In my opinion, FeNO testing is an excellent method for screening and monitoring Asthma. Based on the seriousness of the patients, correct measures can be taken in terms of prescribing medications, and probable treatment to the patients.”
Talking to Dr. Atri Gangopadhyay about the number of cases reported after COVID, he shared “The peculiarity noticed was a marked increase in cases of Asthma after COVID. The first category of people were the ones who had a history of asthma in their families and the second category of people were the ones who had neither any self-history nor any family history of Asthma in the past. Some of these cases required severe treatment while some needed an admission also. This was a direct association that I found after COVID as the cases, severity and frequency of Asthma attacks increased.”
GenWorks has launched a product called FenomPro which is a breath analyzer user for testing the FeNO levels of patients. The FenomPro is used for simple clinical applications and it comes with a rechargeable battery for easy portability. It has a user-friendly interface and gives the test results in just 28 seconds. The FeNO test is accurate for understanding if the patients require treatment and prescription of inhalers or not.
Talking about FeNO, Dr. Atri said “FeNO is an excellent method for testing the eosinophil levels in patients. Sometimes when people are prescribed inhalers, they may be reluctant to take them fearing some kinds of side effects but if the FeNO is high then you should know that inhaled corticosteroids can be extremely helpful. Once the treatment of Asthma is started, people may start benefitting within two or three days. Within one week they may start experiencing no symptoms at all. However, this is not when you should leave the medicine because if you leave it at this point then there can be a genuine problem and again an attack of asthma may get triggered which can actually be very serious. So the right time to reduce the medicine is after three months which means that if a patient with asthma maintains a reasonable control of symptoms for three months then the patient can get a FeNO to know if the value has decreased as compared to the previous test and if it is favorable then the treatment can be stopped.”
Asthma cases have increased manifold after COVID and they should be diagnosed and treated properly. GenWorks introduced FenomPro to help more and more patients know if they are suffering from Asthma. FenomPro ensures efficient testing of FeNO as it is a simple tool for the diagnosis and monitoring of Asthma.