A survey conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) revealed that a large percentage of asthmatics are unaware of the national treatment guidelines. The on-line survey of 1944 adults with mild-to-moderate asthma who are taking medications to manage their condition did not know about the guidelines. Furthermore, >50% of the respondents reported that, once their asthma appeared under control, they were not aware that they should speak with their physician regarding symptoms to determine how to adjust their treatment.

The guidelines are designed to help individuals gain control of their asthma symptoms. Successful management of asthma depends on communication between patients and physicians about the guidelines, according to Gillian Shepherd, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Cornell University. "This dialogue helps [patients] better understand their asthma, what the treatment course is, and whether they are being ?stepwise' about their asthma. Asthma symptoms can change, and patients need to work with their doctors to make sure they are taking the right medication for their symptoms," she said.

The survey is part of the AAAAI's national "Be Stepwise About Asthma" educational program. It includes a brochure called "Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Stepwise About Asthma." For the free brochure, call 800-822-2762.