Asthma perceptions may cause poor self-management

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 3, 2006

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Asthmatic patients who believe they are disease-free when they are not experiencing symptoms are less likely to use maintenance medications, according to a study published in the March issue of Chest.

Researchers interviewed nearly 200 low-income minority adults hospitalized for asthma over 12 months. More than half believed they had asthma only when they had problems breathing. This perception also reduced the chance by one-third that a patient would adhere to an inhaled corticosteroid regimen.

The authors suggest that physicians need to educate patients about the chronic nature of this condition.

"[Patients] are treating asthma more like a cold or flu that will go away between attacks than as the serious, chronic disease it is," said Ethan A. Halm, MD, MPH, lead author and associate professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "We need to find ways to tailor our educational efforts to individual beliefs and behaviors if we are to make headway in improving outcomes."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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