Doctors see dramatic decrease in severe asthma cases

Doctors see dramatic decrease in severe asthma cases

Credit: Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

ICU admissions for asthma at University Hospital have gone down by 74% over the past three decades

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by WENDY RIGBY

KENS 5

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 3:04 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Some encouraging news is out today about asthma. San Antonio doctors say the number of patients with severe asthma complications has declined dramatically.

Erick Reynero, 25, knows how scary it can be to have an asthma attack. He’s dealt with the chronic inflammatory disease for a long time. He knows how those narrowed airways feel.
 
“Like a tightness in my chest, a pressure,” Reynero explained. “It’ll feel like even a hundred pounds of pressure on your chest.”
 
A newly-published study conducted at University Hospital showed asthma patients are faring better than they used to. And not as many patients need intense hospital treatment.
 
From 1980 to 2010 at University Hospital, annual Intensive Care Unit admissions for asthma have dropped a whopping 74 percent.
 
“The severity has been very mild,” said UT pulmonologist Dr. Jay Peters. “We’ve had very few, only about three patients per year instead of more than 12 patients per year, that are actually coming to the ICU.”
 
Peters credited better patient compliance with medication, specifically the inhaled corticosteroids patients use on a regular basis.
 
People like Reynero are encouraged to take personal responsibility for managing their potentially life-threatening condition. When they do, outcomes are better.
 
“Just follow your regimen and everything will be OK,” Reynero added.
 
“Even though you may not have any symptoms, there’s still inflammation in your airway and with the right triggers you can have a life-threatening event and end up in the intensive care unit,” Peters stated.
 
On average, 15 Americans die of asthma each day. Taking their medicine regularly as prevention brings down the risk of death exponentially.
 
 
   
 

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