UNM Doctor Assists with New Asthma Guidelines


September 24, 2007


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) recently issued the first comprehensive update in a decade of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma.

The guidelines emphasize the importance of asthma control and introduce new approaches for monitoring asthma. Updated recommendations for managing asthma include an expanded section on childhood asthma, new guidance on medications, new recommendations on patient education in settings beyond the physician’s office, and new advice for controlling environmental factors that can cause asthma symptoms.

Coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, NAEPP convenes an expert panel when there is a sufficient science to warrant a rigorous, systematic review of the published medical literature to ensure that the asthma guidelines reflect the latest scientific advances.

William Kelly, Pharm.D. and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, served on the expert panel of select doctors who updated the guidelines.

"The new guidelines show that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or inhaled corticosteroids should be the foundation for management of chronic, persistent asthma in all age groups," said Kelly. "Patient education is also essential and should be provided by all members of the healthcare team including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and respiratory therapists."

Asthma is a chronic, treatable disease that causes narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult at times. More than 22 million people in the U.S. have asthma, including 6.5 million children under age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Without appropriate treatment, asthma can significantly limit individuals’ activities and result in asthma exacerbations, which can lead to hospitalization and even death. The CDC estimates that 4,000 Americans die from asthma exacerbations each year.

The complete updated Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma can be found athttp://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/index.htm.

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