Special Report - Asthma Cure Program Up; Special Report

Manila Bulletin, August 14, 2000 | Go to article overview

Special Report - Asthma Cure Program Up; Special Report


Asthma cure program up

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU (Second of a series) About 12 million Filipinos suffer from asthma, which is a lifetime disease, according to the National Asthma Movement (NAM).

Environmental, genetic and other factors were pinpointed as the root causes of this major pulmonary disease, said the movement as it warned that uneducated Filipino asthmatics will definitely have a poor quality of life - complex and tedious - and often, insufficient treatment that may lead to death.

To help reduce asthmatics in the country, an asthma management program has been launched. It is a unique treatment program that calls for cooperation from the patient and his family, doctors, and other healthcare givers. It enables the patient to manage his asthma and live an active life, the doctor to correctly assess and prescribe the right medication, and the patient's family to help the asthmatic live an active and productive life.

Prof. Josefina Tuazon, who advocated Asthma Management with Patient Education, urged patients, doctors, nurses, respiratory and pulmonary therapists and other healthcare givers, including medical organizations and pharmaceuticals such as AstraZeneca, to know the standard procedures so that a uniform approach to the assessment, treatment and medication of the disease is provided asthmatics.

Tuazon, who is also the chairman of NAM and head of the Research and Creative Writing Program of the University of the Philippines in Manila (UP-Manila) College of Nursing, said the asthma management program emphasizes trigger avoidance and early management of acute symptoms. The program covers the assessment or evaluation of the patient, identifying patient's triggers and avoidance of triggers, prescribing proper treatment or medication, and monitoring and patient education.

In assessing a patient, healthcare givers must not just acknowledge that the patient has asthma, but should also find out the patient's social, economic, psychological, financial and intellectual backgrounds so they formulate a good management program for him.

A recent study showed that the number one trigger among Filipino asthmatics is the house dustmite, a microscopic organism that thrives in dusty and dirty places and settles on linens, upholstery, carpets, rugs and pillows. Other triggers include dead cockroaches, pollens from fruit bearing trees like mango, flowers and grass, cigarette smoke whether first or second hand.

The patient must be instructed to identify or recognize their triggers so that they will know what factors or events to avoid. This way, they can avoid triggers, and anticipate and prepare well against asthma attacks.

"What is important is for the patient to be able to comply with their program. And for this to happen, the device should be easy to administer and use. …

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