JULY 01, 2008

Rhinitis and Severe Asthma Go Together

Brazilian researchers found that individuals who do not respond well to asthma treatment also are more prone to have moderate-to-severe rhinitis. To investigate the correlation between the 2 conditions, the researchers studied 557 patients with severe asthma.

Overall, 31% had moderate-to-severe rhinitis, 54% had mild rhinitis, and 15% did not have the condition. The patients with moderate-to-severe rhinitis were >3 times as likely to visit the emergency room during the year they were followed, compared with other patients. The findings also showed that patients were almost 3 times as likely to show a <10% improvement in asthma symptoms and were >12 times as likely to have uncontrolled asthma by the end of the study, reported the researchers in the May 2008 issue of Allergy.

Birth Defects May Result from Asthma During Pregnancy

A study, reported in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that uncontrolled asthma during the first trimester of pregnancy significantly increases the risk of birth defects in babies. For the study, the researchers analyzed >4300 pregnancies through health care and pharmacy records.

The findings indicated that women who had an asthma flare-up in the first trimester of pregnancy were 48% more likely to have a baby with at least one congenital defect, compared with mothers with asthma who did not experience a flare-up during that time. The study data indicated that the occurrence of birth defects among children of mothers who experienced a flare-up was 12.8%, compared with a rate of 8.9% for mothers with better-controlled asthma.

Hitting the Road with Allergies, Asthma

Summer travel for individuals with asthma and allergy means more time outdoors and increased exposure to common allergy and asthma triggers. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends that patients with allergic disease take the following steps to ensure that their summer travel is fun, not frustrating:

  • Air out vehicles before a lengthy road trip and also travel with the windows rolled up
  • Plan to drive in the early morning or late evening to avoid high midday air pollution levels and idling traffic
  • When traveling by airplane, pack medications according to federal security regulations
  • Request allergy-free hotel accommodations, which can include special rooms, pillows, and linens
  • Visit an allergist/immunologist before the trip to discuss any treatment questions

Kids: Drink Apple Juice

The results of a study, recently reported in the European Respiratory Journal, confirmed the link between apples and lung health. A small study of 5- to 10-year-old schoolchildren in the Greenwich area of London found that children who drink plenty of apple juice may be less likely to develop asthma symptoms.

For the study, the parents of the children were questioned about their child?s fruit intake and any symptoms they experienced. Although the researchers did not find a correlation between apple juice consumption and a lower risk of an actual asthma diagnosis, the association between wheezing and drinking the juice was quite compelling.

Wheezing is a key sign that a child is at an increased risk of asthma, although many with the symptoms are not eventually diagnosed with the illness. The researchers noted that the apple juice involved did not have to be fresh apple juice. Juices made from concentrate also were effective.

Uncontrolled Asthma Prevalent in Adults, Kids

The Asthma USA survey showed that uncontrolled asthma had significant medical consequences. Adults with uncontrolled asthma were more prone to need treatment with oral corticosteroids, visit the emergency room, or be hospitalized, compared with patients with well-controlled asthma.

Children with uncontrolled asthma also were in the same situation. Earlier studies have shown that uncontrolled asthma can put patients at risk for increased asthma symptoms, sudden asthma attacks, hospitalization, and even death.

The survey included >81,500 households that were assessed using the Asthma Control Test (ACT). Of the >10,000 adults with self-reported asthma taking the ACT, 41% had a score of 19 or less, which indicates uncontrolled asthma. The survey also examined scores from the Childhood Asthma Control Test and ACT in >3000 children respondents between the ages of 4 and 17. The results indicated that 31% of the children with asthma between the ages of 4 and 11 and 25% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 did not have well-controlled asthma.

F A S T   F A C T : Approximately 16.7 million physician office visits each year are attributed to allergic rhinitis.