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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers November 18, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Asthma Disease State Management - November 18, 2017

Asthma Awareness

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder that causes airway constriction, resulting in the patient having difficulty breathing. Approximately 20 million Americans suffer from asthma, and those that have family history of asthma and suffer from allergies are most likely to experience asthma symptoms at some point in their lives. Although not all patients have the following symptoms, most complain of shortness of breath, coughing attacks, wheezing, and feel as though they are unable to completely fill their lungs with air. Asthma symptoms are sometimes triggered by exercise, exposure to allergens, irritants such as cigarette smoke, and viral infections.

Fast Facts - Every day in America:
  • 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma.
  • 30,000 people have an asthma attack.
  • 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
  • 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
  • 11 people die from asthma.
Fast Facts can be found at: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (March 25, 2009)

Although asthma symptoms vary from one patient to another, the overall treatment goal is to reduce both severity and frequency of these symptoms. Medications used to treat asthmatic patients can be categorized into those that provide immediate relief from an asthma attack, and those long-term control medications that prevent symptom breakthrough. Short acting inhaled beta-agonists are the drug of choice to provide quick and immediate relief from an asthma attack. Beta-agonists have the potential to relax bronchial smooth muscle, decrease mast cell mediator release by inhibiting neutrophil, eosinophil, and lymphocyte responses, and affect vascular tone and edema formation which results in the opening of the airway during an asthma attack. The most effective long-term control medications are inhaled corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation in the lungs. Most long-term control medicines must be taken daily, even when you do not have symptoms. Other long-term control medicines include inhaled long-acting beta-agonists, oral corticosteroids, combination medications of inhaled bronchodilators and steroids, leukotriene modifiers, mast cell stabilizers, and oral methylxanthines. As a pharmacist, it is imperative to remind your patients to keep their beta-agonist inhaler with them at all times in case of symptom breakthrough and encourage them to follow their physician instructions on the usage of their medications, even when feeling symptom free.

Links - Asthma Awareness
Center For Disease Control Asthma Information Page Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology lists its mission as the "advancement of the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma & immunology."

National Asthma Campaign is the British independent charity working to conquer asthma, in partnership with people with asthma and all who share their concern, through a combination of research, education and support.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies.

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