Leading Asthma Experts Stress Early Identification and Avoidance of Allergic Triggers to Reduce Asthma Epidemic in Kids

Monday, October 13, 2008 General News
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BOSTON, Oct. 13 Pediatricians need to diagnose asthmaearlier and identify allergy triggers if they want to achieve better outcomeswith their asthma patients, according to allergy and asthma experts who spokeat an educational program sponsored by National Jewish Health. Pediatriciansfrom around the country learned how to integrate into the pediatric settingevidence-based medicine and the 2007 NIH Guidelines for the Diagnosis andManagement of Asthma to improve care for the millions of children that sufferfrom this chronic condition. Nearly 80 percent of patients with asthma aremanaged by primary care physicians.

"Healthcare providers must work together to do a better job of identifyingallergies and asthma early on in children through Specific IgE blood tests orskin tests," said panelist Andy Liu, MD, Associate Professor of Allergy &Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health. "With earlierdiagnosis, we can improve patient outcomes. That requires more pediatriciansto integrate the new NIH guidelines into their daily practice and to determinewhether to treat or refer a child to a specialist."

National Jewish Health sponsored the program titled, "Early InterventionalStrategies to Curb the Asthma Epidemic: Incorporating Evidence-Based Medicineand the NIH Guidelines into Your Practice to Improve Patient Outcomes." Thesession informed pediatricians about the importance of controlling asthma inorder to minimize the effect of the disease and to improve patient outcomesthrough medication and reduction of environmental triggers, such as dust mitesand animal dander.

"Almost 90 percent of children with asthma have allergic sensitivities,"said Dr. Liu. "Our national asthma guidelines stress the importance ofallergy testing to identify and reduce exposure to relevant allergens andsuccessfully manage asthma in the long-term."

Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases afflictingapproximately 6.5 million children. The disease causes nearly 500,000hospitalizations annually and results in a significant economic burden on ourhealthcare system. Additionally, asthma leads to 14 million lost school dayseach year and the disease significantly impacts quality of life inchildren.(1)

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients withrespiratory, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medicalresearch. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish providesthe best integrated and innovative care for patients and their families; seeksto understand and find cures for the diseases we research; and educates andtrains the next generation of healthcare professionals to be leaders inmedicine and science. We pursue this vision by pioneering individualizedmedicine programs which embrace the paradigm shift from reactive medicine toproactive, personalized healthcare. For 11 consecutive years, U.S. News &World Report has ranked National Jewish the No. 1 respiratory hospital in thenation. Scholarly publisher Thomson Scientific has ranked National Jewishamong the 25 most influential research institutions in the world in its areasof focus. Further information can be found by visitinghttp://www.nationaljewish.org.

(1) Akinbami L. Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: UnitedStates, 2003-05. NCHS Health E-Stats; 2007.http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/ashtma03-05/asthma03-05.htm. (Readers may have to copy and paste this web address into theirbrowser.) Accessed May 16, 2008.

SOURCE National Jewish Health

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