Have asthma? Don't shy away from your doctor
Can't find relief from asthma symptoms? Grill your doctor frequently to better understand your problem, says a study.
In order for asthma treatment to be effective, patients need to increase communication with their physicians, said researchers.
"When patients do not understand their condition or treatment plan, they may not follow life-saving guidelines, putting them at increased risk for asthma attacks," said allergist and article author Stanley Fineman, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
Fineman noted that only eight to 13 percent of asthma sufferers continue to refill inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions after one year.
Taken early and as directed, these inhalers can improve asthma control, normalise lung function and even prevent irreversible injury to airways, said the study published in the journal titled Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
The study cited several young adults feeling uncomfortable taking their medication in public settings.
Several of them do not manage their condition as advised, which can lead to increased asthma attacks and emergency room visits.
"Allergists need to communicate the importance of continuing medication, and patients should express any concerns they might have, such as taking medication in public, since there are often solutions," said allergist Alan Baptist, an ACAAI member and senior study author.
According to the study, many of young asthma sufferers said they stopped using prescribed medication when symptoms subsided.
Although symptoms can become better with time, asthma is a chronic illness. Unless directed by a physician, asthma patients should never change or discontinue preventive medications.
Asthma is a serious disease and discontinuing treatment can be dangerous. "Sufferers need to be sure they regularly take medication and that all of their concerns are being addressed," added Fineman.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide.
(Posted on 13-01-2014)