Think Asthma Under Control? Think Again
Survey Shows Many Adults With Asthma Mistakenly Believe They Have It Under Control
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 25, 2007 -- Most people with asthma say they have their disease under
control, but experts say their symptoms tell otherwise.
A new survey shows two-thirds of adults with asthma report that they have
their disease under control, but more than half say they experience symptoms
such as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or tightness in their chest at
least once a week.
In addition, one in three adults with asthma say they use a rescue inhaler
at least daily. Rescue medications are quick-relief medications used to
immediately alleviate asthma symptoms. Guidelines warn against using a rescue
inhaler more than twice a week.
"Using a rescue medication regularly is a sign that asthma is not
properly controlled and you may be ailing from the disease unnecessarily,"
William E. Berger, MD, of the division of allergy and immunology at the
University of California, Irvine, says in a news release. "Patients should
talk to their doctor to evaluate their treatment regimen and find out if
maintenance therapies are right for them."
Asthma Control Misconceptions
The survey of more than 4,000 adults was sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy
Foundation of American (AAFA) in association with drugmaker AstraZeneca, which
produces asthma medications.
The results showed that most people with asthma (59%) try to avoid taking
medications whenever possible. But one in three report using a rescue asthma
inhaler at least daily, and 73% have used one in the last month.
More than half of those with asthma surveyed said their disease affects
their daily life and limits their usual activities or enjoyment of everyday
"These survey findings illustrate the need for a better standard of
control when it comes to managing asthma," says Mike Tringale, director of
external affairs at AAFA, in the news release. "There is a large
disconnect between what asthma patients are saying and how they are actually
affected by their asthma every day, which calls for better education on how to
properly control the disease."
The results also suggested that asthma is underdiagnosed among minority
groups. For example, only 8% of Hispanics surveyed said they had been diagnosed
with asthma, but 58% reported asthma symptoms. A similar gap was found among