Asthma is one of the most serious
- About 20 million people in the U.S. have asthma, according to the American
Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. The number could be much higher
when accounting for undiagnosed cases. The number of Americans with asthma
has increased dramatically since 1980, becoming a leading reason for hospital
admissions. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.)
- Asthma often begins in childhood.
- Asthma accounts yearly for:
- 100 million restricted activity days.
- Over 10 million missed school days.
- About 11 million office visits.
- 1.8 million emergency department visits.
- About 500,000 hospitalizations.
- More than 5,000 deaths.
"Control" drugs prevent emergencies:
- For people who have had an asthma-related emergency room visit, use of
inhaled steroids reduces the chance of another emergency room visit by half. (Archives
of Internal Medicine, July 2002.)
Control drugs are under-used:
- Only 25% of people who should be using anti-inflammatory medicines for
long-term control actually report using them, according to one study. (Journal
of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, July 2002.)
- Use of inhaled steroids on a regular basis by people with asthma would
likely reduce most hospitalizations and deaths. (Journal of Allergy and
Clinical Immunology, July 2002.)
Doctors and patients need to work
- A study of over 6,700 people with asthma showed poor compliance to the
NIH asthma guidelines. Many people were not adequately reducing their exposure
to asthma triggers. The study also found that people who've had asthma for
a few years were more likely to have poor compliance. (Journal Eval. Clinical
Practice, May 1999.)
"Peak flow" is a useful habit:
- Studies have shown that properly instructed patients find they like to
monitor the "status" of their asthma. Some people prefer to monitor their
symptoms, while others find peak flow to be more helpful. (Thorax 1995,
Australian/NZ Journal of Medicine 1994)
Spacers make MDIs more effective:
- Using a spacer with an MDI has the following benefits: the "technique" of
using an MDI is easier, more of the drug gets into the lungs, and there are
less unpleasant side effects. (Thorax 1995, NAEPP Practical Guide 1997)
Consider summer camp:
- Asthma camps can be a fun and effective way for children to develop good
asthma management habits. (Journal of Family Practice, Nov 1995.)
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The Allergy
Report: Science Based Findings on the Diagnosis & Treatment of Allergic
Disorders, 1996-2001. Milwaukee, Wis: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
(AAAAI); 2001. (2007 updated version available online at www.theallergyreport.com.)
Review Date: 5/16/2007
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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