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Uncontrolled Asthma Leads to Missed School, Work
Date:10/23/2007

Lack of consistent medicine use likely important cause, experts say,,,,

TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- People with poorly controlled asthma are more than twice as likely to miss school or work than those whose symptoms are well-managed, researchers say.

Youngsters with uncontrolled asthma missed more than six school days in a six-month period compared to just 2.6 missed school days for their healthier peers, a new study found, and adults with poorly controlled asthma missed almost five days of work versus 1.5 days for their counterparts with well-controlled airway symptoms.

"I wasn't surprised to see there was a difference in absenteeism, but I was a little surprised at the magnitude of the difference. The real goal of this paper was to get people focused on control," said the study's lead author, Dr. David Tinkelman, a professor of pediatrics and vice president for health initiatives at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.

The problem, explained Tinkelman, is that asthma is one of the few chronic diseases where you can sometimes miss your medications without suffering immediate ill effects. In contrast, if someone with diabetes doesn't take their insulin, they'll start to feel sick very quickly. But, if it's summer and there aren't many asthma triggers present, someone might be able to forgo their asthma controller medication for a little while without feeling terribly ill. Unfortunately, that lack of medication will eventually catch up with the asthmatic, Tinkelman said.

"Asthma medications can be hard to take on a regular basis, but if you want to prevent asthmatic episodes from keeping you from work or your child out of school, it's important to take controller medications daily," said Tinkelman.

There are two types of medication available to treat asthma: fast-acting "rescue" medications, such as albuterol inhalers that immediately start to relieve symptoms;
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