How Can Undiagnosed Asthma or COPD Patients Benefit from Early Detection and Treatment?

By Mehek May 20, 2024 #asthma #COPD #Early Detection
How Can Undiagnosed Asthma or COPD Patients Benefit from Early Detection and Treatment?

## World-first Trial Shows Benefits of Finding and Treating Undiagnosed Asthma and COPD

In a groundbreaking study, researchers have discovered that early detection and treatment of undiagnosed asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) significantly improves health outcomes and reduces healthcare utilization for respiratory symptoms.

Early Detection and Treatment Key to Improved Health

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first in the world to identify people with undiagnosed asthma or COPD through random telephone surveys. Led by Dr. Shawn Aaron, a senior scientist and lung specialist at The Ottawa Hospital, the research team screened over 26,000 individuals and diagnosed 595 undisclosed cases.

“An estimated 70% of people with asthma or COPD remain undiagnosed,” said Aaron. “This study demonstrates the importance of proactively screening for these conditions to improve patient outcomes.”

Lung Specialists Drive Health Improvements

After diagnosis, half of the participants were assigned to usual care, while the other half received specialized care from lung specialists and asthma/COPD educators. Patients under the supervision of lung specialists exhibited substantial improvements in lung function, reduced respiratory symptoms, and decreased healthcare visits.

Patient Stories Highlight Transformation

“Before I was diagnosed, I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest,” said Jazzminn Hein, a study participant. “Now, with my inhaler, I can breathe better and experience fewer headaches and yawning.”

Dr. Kevin Simpson, a professor at Loyola University Medical Center, emphasizes the need for patients to discuss persistent respiratory symptoms with healthcare providers. “Office visits can be rushed, but it’s crucial to optimize the time to address these concerns.”

Spirometry Test Essential for Diagnosis

Spirometry, a simple breathing test, plays a vital role in diagnosing asthma and COPD. Performed in healthcare settings or by lung specialists, the test measures lung function by requiring patients to blow into a mouthpiece.

“Spirometry tests are highly accurate when performed correctly,” said Dr. Amy Attaway, a pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic. “Patients should consider repeating the test after using inhaled bronchodilators to open their airways.”

Early Intervention Prevents Complications

Dr. M. Bradley Drummond, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, highlights the benefits of inhaler use in COPD patients. “Inhalers improve lung function, reduce symptoms, and decrease the risk of respiratory infections.”

Early detection and treatment of asthma and COPD offer significant benefits, including improved quality of life, fewer healthcare visits, and reduced risk of complications. The study’s findings underscore the importance of proactive screening and specialized care to optimize patient outcomes.
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By Mehek

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