Asthma Quirt, Jaclyn; Hildebrand, Kyla J; Mazza, Jorge; Noya, Francisco; Kim, Harold
Asthma is the most common respiratory disorder in Canada. Despite significant improvement in the diagnosis and management of this disorder, the majority of Canadians with asthma remain poorly controlled. In most patients, however, control can be achieved through the use of avoidance measures and appropriate pharmacological interventions. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) represent the standard of care for the majority of patients. Combination ICS/long-acting beta2-agonist inhalers are preferred for most adults who fail to achieve control with ICS therapy. Biologic therapies targeting immunoglobulin E or interleukin-5 are recent additions to the asthma treatment armamentarium and may be useful in select cases of difficult to control asthma. Allergen-specific immunotherapy represents a potentially disease-modifying therapy for many patients with asthma, but should only be prescribed by physicians with appropriate training in allergy. In addition to avoidance measures and pharmacotherapy, essential components of asthma management include: regular monitoring of asthma control using objective testing measures such as spirometry, whenever feasible; creation of written asthma action plans; assessing barriers to treatment and adherence to therapy; and reviewing inhaler device technique. This article provides a review of current literature and guidelines for the appropriate diagnosis and management of asthma in adults and children.
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