The secret to diagnosing your type of asthma is in urine, study says

Here are some steps asthma sufferers can take to keep their lungs in tiptop shape. 

New study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet revealed

A recent study from Sweden has shown how a urine test could help provide more specialized asthma diagnosis and better treatment of severe asthma down the line.

Over 25 million Americans have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and it has been increasing since the 1980s. Black children have the highest prevalence of the disease.

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The chronic lung condition, which causes swelling in the airways, can come in a variety of forms and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

“There are no simple methods to determine what type of asthma an individual has, knowledge that is particularly important in order to better treat patients suffering from the more severe types of the disease,” Craig Wheelock, associate professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet, said in a press release.

For the new study, of which Wheelock is the last author, researchers used a mass spectrometry-based methodology and measured urinary metabolite levels of certain prostaglandins and leukotrienes — the former are body compounds made of fats with hormonelike effects while the latter are inflammatory chemicals the body releases when it comes into contact with an allergen. Each of them are known mediators of asthmatic airway inflammation.

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“We discovered particularly high levels of the metabolites of the mast cell mediator prostaglandin D2 and the eosinophil product leukotriene C4 in asthma patients with what is referred to as Type 2 inflammation,” first author Johan Kolmert, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet said. “Using our methodology, we were able to measure these metabolites with high accuracy and link their levels to the severity and type of asthma.”

The study also revealed urine tests provided greater accuracy than certain types of blood tests. Researchers say the study of severe asthma may be the largest evaluation of eicosanoid urinary metabolites conducted globally. They say it may be a significant step toward future biomarker-led precision medicine.

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