Lack of Awareness, Treatment Leads to Many Asthma Deaths

Local doctor urges you to get screened

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images/Image Source

    Every day 11 people die unnecessarily from asthma -- most of them women and children -- because they don’t know it and they aren’t getting treated for it.

    May is Asthma Awareness Month. Awareness is your best defense against a disease that can be deadly, doctors say.

    “This is a big disease. There are more people who have asthma than have cancer, heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md.

    The statistics are disturbing. One out of every four visits to the ER is because of asthma, and 40,000 people miss school or work every day due to the disease. Many of those people don’t know they’ve got it, or they mistake the symptoms for something else.

    “It’s called wheezy bronchitis, it’s called shortness of breath from exercise, but it’s often not called asthma,” said Dr. Jackie. “The problem there is you end up not getting diagnosed correctly and end up not taking the right kind of medication.”

    If you suffer from wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness, you should think about asthma and go see a doctor, said Dr. Jackie.

    If you are a woman, you should be especially concerned. According to the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics, 65 percent of patients who die from asthma are women. It can become more severe in pregnancy, which can trigger it, and women at certain times in their menstrual cycle can suddenly develop it.    

    Children are also particularly susceptible. Almost half (44 percent) of all asthma hospitalizations are for children.

    “If your kids are using their rescue inhaler more than twice a week, even if it’s for soccer, they’ve got to go get their maintenance medication and get treated correctly for what is real live asthma,” advised Dr. Jackie.

    Screening is key. It takes only six seconds and a nice deep breath.

    This week, the AANMA is launching the Great American Asthma Challenge. It’s the first-ever national grassroots movement to change asthma care in the U.S. The kickoff takes place at AANMA’s 13th Annual Asthma Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. To learn more about that, log on to www.aanma.org.