Better Asthma Control

You can take charge of controlling your asthma

It seems that better asthma control really is up to you. Standard asthma management strategies, including regular use of steroid inhalers and the new long-acting beta-agonist drugs, in addition to seeing a doctor who specializes in asthma, are proven to help you manage your asthma better over the long term. That's according to the findings presented in the November 2006 issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI).

Why are these findings interesting? While most experts already believed that the severity of asthma symptoms could be controlled through proper management, there really wasn't any recorded research to support these ideas. Now there is.

The study in November's JACI was designed to look at a number of possible factors in the long-term control of asthma, including asthma severity, asthma management and demographic characteristics of the patient. Researchers used a survey to gather information on 2,250 HMO members, aged 18 to 56, who were diagnosed with persistent asthma. For each respondent, researchers also tracked prescriptions based on pharmacy data.

There were a number of factors that went along with poor results for patients. Researchers found that more than two prescriptions of oral corticosteroids in the previous year, a background of hospitalization for asthma, unscheduled hospital visits due to asthma symptoms, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower educational levels and being African American or male, all related to less control of the disease over the long term.

The best results for long-term asthma control were associated with regular visits to an asthma specialist and use of the right medications, such as inhaled steroids and long-acting beta-agonists.

Other results from the study include:

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