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Treating Asthma as an Inflammatory Disease*

G. Walter Canonica, MD
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*From Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

Correspondence to: G. Walter Canonica, MD, Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; e-mail: canonica@unige.it



Chest. 2006;130(1_suppl):21S-28S. doi:10.1378/chest.130.1_suppl.21S
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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease involving many different cell types and cellular elements. Evidence suggests that, in the long term, this inflammation leads to remodeling of the airways, airflow obstruction, and the bronchial hyperreactivity symptoms of asthma, and is present even in patients with intermittent disease. Patients with allergic asthma and those with seasonal allergic rhinitis are believed to have minimal persistent inflammation, and the two diseases often occur together. Early intervention with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) is believed to modify the disease process and may limit long-term remodeling. ICS remain the cornerstone and “gold standard” of treatment for asthma.

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