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  • Asthma management for health professionals

    Author: HealthTimes

Over 2 million Australians are currently living with asthma, including 1 in 4 children and 1 in 10 adults. Asthma is one of the top 10 reasons patients visit the doctor and the disease costs the government over $720 million annually.

Although more people are being diagnosed with Asthma each year, and the disease is not yet curable, medical professionals are now better equipped to treat it than ever before.

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Asthma management refers to the reduction in severity of asthma symptoms and risk to the patient while increasing or maintaining the patient’s ability to lead an active life.

Management of asthma symptoms begins at diagnosis by creating a treatment plan for the patient. Treatment plans (also called action or management plans) provide information on taking prescribed medication safely, monitoring and managing asthma symptoms, what to do in the event of a flare up or attack and when to seek emergency assistance.

Treatment of symptoms may include the use of medications (including inhaled corticosteroids, beta-antagonists or other combination medications), limiting the patients exposure to allergens and other irritants (including smoke, mould, dust mites and cockroaches) or, in severe cases, treatments such as oxygen therapy or bronchial thermoplasty.


Cabrini Health
ACAS Assessor
St Vincent's Hospital

Patient adherence to treatment plans is one of the largest factors in successful asthma management. Literature indicates that approximately 50% of patients suffering from chronic disease do not adequately adhere to their treatments plans and therefore experience suboptimal outcomes.

There are several types of non adherence, both intentional and unintentional. These may include not taking medications or taking medications incorrectly, failing to attend appointments or complete rejection of treatment plans.

Patient adherence is influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to, their understanding of the disease, their attitude about their asthma and general health, prior experience and self-efficacy.

Health professionals can work with patients to increase adherence by fostering partnership and communication, encouraging patients to take control of their self-management and focusing on the benefits of adherence instead of the consequences of non-adherence. Additionally, ensuring treatment plans are simple and easy to follow, as well as tailored to the patients’ capabilities and beliefs, will improve adherence.

Asthma management is most successful when there is an open and communicative relationship between patients and health professionals. Educating your patients on the benefits of adherence and routine review of treatment plans ensures issues are addressed promptly and provides patients with the best opportunities for positive outcomes.

For more information on Asthma Management please view the updated Australian Asthma Handbook from The National Asthma Council of Australia which includes guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of asthma.


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