Asthma prone to other chronic diseases

asthmaAccording to a new study by Canadian researchers, people suffering from asthma are more prone to other diseases that require medical care. The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada. It was released by Toronto's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, focuses on the issues comorbidity — diseases that accompany another disease.

The study's lead author Dr. Andrea Gershon, an ICES scientist, respirologist and researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said that what they were able to empirically demonstrate was that there is clearly more to having asthma than just having lung disease. The study was done in Ontario but Gershon believes the findings would apply to similar populations elsewhere including in other provinces. Gershon hopes their findings will help health-care providers realize that their own asthma patients suffer from asthma comorbidity, and prompt them to look for and manage it appropriately in order to improve overall care.

Asthma is most common in children and young adults who are widely considered to be a part of healthy population Respiratory disease, psychiatric disease, and musculoskeletal disease were the most common types of comorbidity connected with asthma. In the study, asthma and asthma comorbidity were associated with 6% of the 2.2 million hospitalizations, 6% of 131.3 million ambulatory care visits or outpatient trips to doctors and 9% of the 4.7 million emergency room visits in Ontario.

According to the World Health Organization, Canada has about 14 % and is one of the highest prevalence rates of clinical asthma in the world but one the fatality rate of the disease is 1.6 deaths per 100,000 asthmatics.

Researchers also said that the cause-and-effect relationships are unclear. Factors may have a possibility to link poor asthma control or asthma treatment with the other diseases. Gershon also stressed on the fact that if researchers find out more about how asthma affects the body beyond the lungs, it might help in the search for better ways to treat it, help people to feel better and use fewer health-care resources.