Asthma Information

There are over 9 million patients with asthma in the USA. Direct medical costs are over 3.7 billion dollars. About 47 percent of this cost is due to hospitalizations.
Public, patients, their families, health care providers all have to be better informed if we are to reduce costs, morbidity as well as mortality from this serious health problem. Our mind set has to change from thinking of asthma as sporadic bronchospasm(asthma attacks) with symptom free periods when most patients stop all treatment, to an understanding that asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways with increased airways reactivity (twitchy lungs). It is this chronic inflammation that has to be reversed.
Consider asthma a chronic disease which requires long term care, such as diabetes or hypertension.
Please explore links to various sites on the internet that you may find useful.

Important information
Flu shot is recommended for patients with persistent asthma.

When should you ask your Doctor for a referral to the allergist/asthma specialist
If the diagnosis of asthma is in doubt.
If the patient requires frequent physician office visits for asthma, is hospitalized for asthma, has 2 or more emergency room visits for asthma, or has moderate to severe symptoms of asthma.
If the patient has highly labile airway function or frequent exacerbation's.
If the patient requires more than 1 canister of inhaled beta agonist per month, very high dose of inhaled corticosteroids or frequent oral corticosteroids.
If the patient is losing time from school or work, or if their quality of life is being seriously affected.

The allergist and asthma consultant should provide
A comprehensive evaluation of asthma, including assessment of the various underlying conditions which cause asthma and the concomitant conditions that can exacerbate the disease.
A determination of the extent that allergy plays a role in the disease and recommendations for allergy management.
Definition of the role of occupational exposures.
Recommendations to help manage adverse effects of medications employed, help with complex pharmacotherapy, and help in educating the patient about this disease and the medications used to treat it.
Education regarding management techniques, including peak flow meters, inhalation techniques, and treatment plans.

Adapted from The Joint Commission on Practice Parameters. Practice Parameter on Cooperative Asthma Management. JACI, in press. (presented by M. Kaliner, M.D., New Orleans 3/96).