Many Asthma Patients Don’t Follow Treatment Plan

Poor communication with physicians contributes to problem

If your asthma has you under its thumb, the problem could be the way you communicate with your allergist, according to two new studies published in the January issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
One study found only 8 percent to 13 percent of asthma patients refill inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions after a year. These medications, taken as prescribed, may help improve asthma control, normalize lung function and could prevent permanent injury to the airways.
One solution is open communication with an allergist. “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,” study author Stanley Fineman, M.D., former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a college news release. “Changes need to be made by allergists and patients to ensure a treatment plan is in place that will be followed.”
The second study found that black young adults are more likely to ignore asthma treatment plans. Age, poor communication and discomfort taking medication in public contribute to their lack of adherence.
“Many African-American asthma sufferers believed they had a better understanding of their asthma triggers and treatment as they reached young adulthood,” senior study author and allergist Alan Baptist, M.D., said in the news release. “However, many do not manage their condition as advised, which can lead to increased asthma attacks and emergency-room visits. Providing adequate education and addressing specific barriers that young, African-American adults have in asthma management may decrease health-care disparities and improve outcomes.”
Asthma is serious business in this country. The breathing disorder affects about 26 million and causes roughly 4,000 deaths a year.

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