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Difficult asthma: Assessment and management, Part 1

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A minority of asthma patients have disease that proves difficult to control with usual medications and experience ongoing symptoms, poor quality of life, and limitations in activity and/or frequent asthma exacerbations. This group of patients accounts for much of the expense associated with asthma care and is the focus of national and international collaborative study groups. Distinguishing between “difficult-to-manage asthma” and truly “therapy-resistant asthma” is helpful and promotes a systematic consideration of contributory factors. Critical evaluation of factors contributing to difficult-to-manage asthma including adverse environment, comorbidities, nonadherence, and incorrect diagnosis is recommended in a systematic fashion in Part 1 of this contribution.

Keywords: Aggravating conditions; allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis; allergic sensitivities; alternative diagnoses; aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease; difficult asthma; gastroesophageal reflux disease; nonadherence; severe asthma; vocal cord dysfunction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Partners Asthma Center and the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: 2012-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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