11 Americans Die From Asthma EVERYDAY

One of my biggest irritations in life..that people are still dying from asthma everyday!  Do you know that up to 80% of asthmatics have allergies that worsen their asthma symptoms? This IS preventable with the proper treatment, and for most people, treatment is the use of a “controller” inhaler everyday.   By a “controller” inhaler, I mean those inhalers approved by the FDA to treat the daily symptoms of asthma to PREVENT the likelihood of an asthma attack.   This IS NOT what we call albuterol, or “rescue inhaler”, “quick relief” inhaler etc.

Daily controller inhalers/therapy inhalers contain corticosteroids that have been proven to decrease asthma exacerbations with DAILY use.    They are safe and effective to use daily for those who need them. I understand that people do not want to use “a steroid” to control their symptoms.  I do not want anyone to use the steroids that have significant side effects such as decreased bone density, increased blood sugars, weight gain, irritability etc…either.  I try to prevent my patients from having to use those.  The category that these oral/injectable/IV medications are in are called “glucocorticosteroids”, these are the BAD ones such as prednisone. I have even heard them referred to as “my yearly allergy shot”.

Corticosteroids, such as those used in QVAR, Flovent, Asmanex, Pulmicort etc are safe and effective to use daily.   We have Olympic Athletes that control their asthma in order to participate in sports, so why are 11 Americans dying everyday?  Because of lack of education.  This lack of education is seen across the board from pediatricians, family practice providers and even ER providers.  We have standards of care and asthma guidelines that are published and readily available as resources, yet they are not followed.  Can you imagine a provider not recommending/following guidelines to treat uncontrolled blood pressure?  Diabetes?  Bad outcomes happen when guidelines/standards of care are not followed.  11 Americans die everyday from asthma!

Education is the biggest hurdle in the proper treatment of asthma, but some would also say money.  Inhalers can be expensive, I understand that.  All medications are expensive.  My staff and I really go out of our way in order to get whatever medications are needed for our patients.  That sometimes requires a little extra time on our part to do things like contact the drug companies for patient assistance programs.  ALL drug companies have patient assistance programs that will help those in need get their medications, sometimes for free.  There are also pharmacies in town that have worked out programs with clinics that see patients that may not be able to afford their medications.  There are resources out there to help.  If your providers office will not help you find them, then find another provider.  Asthma is a controllable disease process.  11 Americans SHOULD NOT die of asthma everyday.