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

and preventive "controller" medications, such as corticosteroid inhalers and the leukotriene antagonist medication montelukast (Singulair) that help reduce inflammation and may keep symptoms from starting.

The study, which was expected to be presented Oct. 23 at the American College of Chest Physicians' annual meeting, in Chicago, included more than 13,000 people with asthma from across the United States who were surveyed by phone.

When the researchers compared those with well-controlled asthma to those who were experiencing asthma symptoms, they found that children with uncontrolled asthma missed 145 percent more school days on average, and adults with poorly controlled asthma symptoms missed 208 percent more work days.

Researchers from National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Wyeth Pharmaceutical Research and Cerner LifeSciences were involved in this study.

"Asthma is a chronic illness that requires surveillance," said Dr. David Nash, clinical director of the Asthma Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "In between asthma exacerbations, especially in children, people may feel good, and they may forget to take their medications. But, if you can set up an asthma regimen that's as easy as possible to follow, kids shouldn't miss school, and adults shouldn't miss work. We can make asthma a very controllable disease," said Nash.

According to Tinkelman, primary care physicians need to be aware that when they see a patient once every six months or once a year, that patient may not remember that they missed school or work a couple of months ago because of their asthma. That means that physicians really need to question patients to make sure they're maintaining good asthma control.

"If we can get people on their medications and work hard on controlling environmental measures, such as secondhand smoke and allergy triggers, I think the vast majority of asthmatics will do much better," said Nash.
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