Symptoms, No Asthma - Many Believe This False AssumptionNew
research shows that many adults with asthma think of their condition
as temporary, believing they have asthma only when they have symptoms.
from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, and Rutgers University,
New Brunswick, NJ, surveyed 198 adult patients hospitalized with
asthma regarding their asthma beliefs and behaviors and characteristics
related to their beliefs. More than half of the patients indicated
that they only had asthma when they were experiencing symptoms,
a belief researchers labeled as, "no symptoms, no asthma."
In contrast, 40 percent believed they had chronic asthma, while
6 percent indicated they had asthma most or some of the time. When
asked about the lifelong nature of asthma, 20 percent of patients
believed they would not always have asthma, and 15 percent expected
the doctor to cure them of asthma. Male patients, those over 65
years old, and patients with no usual place of care were more likely
to hold the "no symptoms, no asthma" belief. The belief
also was associated with one-third lower odds of adherence to asthma
medications during asymptomatic times.
In fact, people
diagnosed with asthma always have it. Asthma cannot be cured, but
most people with asthma can control its symptoms. When asthma symptoms
become severe or more apparent it is called an asthma attack or
episode. During an episode, muscles around the airways tighten which
makes the airways narrower so less air flows through.
suggest that asthma interventions tailored to an individual's beliefs
and behaviors may help with asthma management. The study appears
in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American
College of Chest Physicians.
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