Allergists Provide Better Asthma Care

Patient survey finds they beat primary-care doctors in controlling symptoms

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma patients who receive care from an allergist report better control of their disease than those who are treated by a primary-care doctor, a new study finds.

Researchers from Kaiser-Permanente in San Diego surveyed nearly 3,600 people with persistent asthma. Of those people, 47 percent said they received regular asthma care from a primary-care doctor, nearly 25 percent saw an allergist, 5.5 percent consulted a pulmonologist, and 19.4 percent said they had no regular source of asthma care.

Compared to asthma patients who received regular care from a primary-care doctor, asthma patients treated by an allergist reported:

  • Fewer asthma control problems,
  • Less severe asthma symptoms,
  • Significantly higher scores for asthma-specific quality of life and for overall general health,
  • Significantly better understanding of how to manage their asthma and greater overall satisfaction with care.

Asthma patients seeing an allergist were also less likely to have required hospitalization or have unscheduled doctor visits during the previous year; less likely to have overused rescue medications called Beta-agonists; and were more likely to have received inhaled steroids to control their asthma.

"These are important data that can be used by patients, payers, insurance companies and providers to improve outcomes for asthma patients," study co-author Dr. Michael Schatz said in a prepared statement. He is a past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The study findings appear in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, Nov. 17, 2005
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