Research and Implications for Clinical Practice
Some of the early impetus for health education programs in asthma stemmed from concerns by physicians that the conventional interactions between doctors and patients with asthma were not having the intended effects of improving long-term respiratory health. Poor understanding of the complexities of asthma and inadequate adherence to prescribed medical regimens were associated with poor control of asthma. More recent impetus for health education programs has come from behavioral scientists and public health oriented groups concerned with the magnitude of the problem and also aware that the health care system is not having the desired effect of reducing asthma morbidity.
In June 1988, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) convened a work-shopf to consider a national strategy for improving the management of asthma. This article is taken from a presentation that was a basis for deliberations on selfmanagement education at the NHLBI/NIAID workshop. It summarizes the implications of recent research findings for cardiopulmonary specialists and immunologists. It also outlines the role of specialists in furthering a national effort to improve asthma selfmanagement. website
Increased Morbidity and Mortality
Recent morbidity data suggest that approximately 10 percent of United States residents have asthma or frequent wheezing at some point in their lives. In children between the ages of six and 11, the prevalence of asthma has increased from 4.8 percent in the late 1970s to 7.6 percent in 1980. The disease exacts an enormous toll on patients, families, and the health care delivery system. Of the chronic diseases of childhood, for example, asthma accounts for the greatest number of school absences.2 The disease has been linked to poor work and school performance, low self-image of patients, and disruption of family life. Lack of adequate treatment of the disease by the family has often been discussed as a factor in medical emergencies, and asthma ranks high as a reason for emergency room visits especially in low income populations.
Deaths from asthma, while still relatively small in absolute number, increased to 4,800 in 1985, and this increase is alarming.
Tags: asthma self-management, health care, health education programs