AAAAI, ACAAI recommend continual assessment of asthma control

Asthma should be assessed each time a patient sees his or her physician, to determine whether the asthma is well controlled or not well controlled, according to a new practice parameter. Attaining Optimal Asthma Control: A Practice Parameter is featured in the November 2005 issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI) and is currently available on the JACI's Web site at www.jacionline.org. The JACI is the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

The recommendations in the practice parameter build upon the guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Because asthma symptoms change over time, asthma needs to constantly be monitored by a physician or other health care professional to make sure the patient has control over his or her asthma.

"Asthma is a chronic disease and needs to be continually reassessed," said James T. Li, MD, FAAAAI, and lead author of the new practice parameter. "Every doctor or clinic visit should consist of a detailed assessment to determine if the patient's asthma is or is not under control. People with asthma should not be satisfied with less than well controlled or completely controlled asthma."

The NHLBI guidelines include measuring asthma to develop a baseline classification of asthma severity before treatment begins. The new practice parameter recommends making asthma management decisions on an ongoing basis to determine the patient's level of control over asthma.

"Asthma is not a static disease, and each patient reacts differently to medication, their environment, triggers and changing allergens that affect their asthma symptoms," Li said. "Assessing these changes requires strong communication between the doctor and patient on an ongoing basis to determine whether changes are needed in medication either an increase or a decrease."

Attaining Optimal

Contact: John Gardner
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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