Asthma Uncontrolled in 55% of Cases: Survey

MONDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey finds that asthma was not controlled in 55 percent Americans with moderate-to-severe forms of the disease, even though most of them had health insurance and regularly visited their health care providers.

"Even more shocking was the finding that 38 percent of controlled asthmatics and 54 percent of uncontrolled asthmatics reported having had an asthma attack during which they feared for their life," lead author Dr. Stephen P. Peters, professor of pediatrics, internal medicine-pulmonary and associate director of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine's Center for Human Genomics, said in a prepared statement.

The findings from the Web-based survey o of 1,812 asthmatics are published in the June issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The survey respondents had a diagnosis of asthma for at least one year and had been prescribed standard therapy for preventing symptoms.

"We found that uncontrolled asthma is highly prevalent in patients using standard asthma medications. Our results highlight the critical need for improved asthma care and suggest that clinicians should expect a high rate of uncontrolled disease among their asthma patients," Peters said.

Younger age, lower income, being Hispanic, and being male were among the factors associated with uncontrolled asthma, the survey found. Many of the patients with uncontrolled asthma also had gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), chronic sinusitis, or high blood pressure, which may contribute to the severity of their asthma, Peters and his colleagues said.

They also found that only 26 percent of patients with controlled asthma and 35 percent of those with uncontrolled asthma had received a personalized "asthma action plan" from their doctors. Written asthma plans have been found to be associated with fewer hospital emergency department visits and hospitalization, and improved lung function, the researchers noted.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, news release, May 30, 2007

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