Recent research conducted by the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research looked at almost 2,700 people with asthma. The study found that 39% of the participants just used a reliever medication, which only treats asthma symptoms, instead of a more stable, preventative medication.
The lead author is the study, Profession Helen Reddel, expressed her concerns that a quarter of patients who only used relievers had to seek last-minute treatment for a dangerous flare-up.
“This is hard proof that people who choose to only treat symptoms as they arise, without also treating the underlying condition, run a very real risk of winding up in hospital,” Reddel said.
Relievers are fast-acting asthma medications that provide quick relief of symptoms like wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. When used, relievers relax the muscles in the airway, making it easier to breathe. On the other hand, preventers help control asthma symptoms and prevent attacks. They reduce inflammation in airways, which makes them less sensitive.
The study found that the patients who were most likely to only use relievers were male, smokers, and hold a health concession card.
There’s already a number of things that can cause health problems for people with asthma. In fact, on a daily basis, 80% of Americans are exposed to dust mites and 60% are exposed to pet dander, both of which can cause health problems in people with asthma or allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Researchers said the findings of the study shows a unfortunate and scary life with those people who choose to only use relievers. While relievers provide short-term relief, they do nothing to address and treat the underlying problem that causes asthma.
The group of participants tended to be find their asthma frustrating and were not satisfied with how they were managing their symptoms. Additionally, they expressed concerns and fears of a severe asthma attack, even when they were taking their reliever medication as instructed.
A preventer, which delivers a low dose of corticosteroid to the lungs, is usually prescribed to adults who has had asthma symptoms at least twice in the past month, who has a flare-up requiring an urgent visit to the hospital in the past year, or who is sometimes woken up from sleeping because of their asthma symptoms.
While the rate of asthma-related deaths has continued to decrease, this new research suggests the people have become complacent about how serious an asthma condition can be.