July 24, 2021

About 3 million people suffer from asthma and half are undiagnosed

About 3 million people suffer from asthma and half are undiagnosed



Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects 10% of the child population and 5% of adults, there are about 3 million people in Spain, but half of the patients are not diagnosed and 30% of the diagnoses are not diagnosed. They're right.

Therefore, five scientific societies have come together to develop the document "Criteria for referral of patients with asthma" to offer healthcare professionals the necessary guidelines to improve patient care and avoid failures in the control of the pathology.

Although 50% of asthmatic patients are not diagnosed, there is also 30% of patients classified as asthmatics when they are not, according to the report of the president of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR). ), Carlos Jiménez-Ruiz.

This misdiagnosis is due to the fact that asthma requires specific examinations, lung volumes, diffusion studies or techniques such as bronchoscopy because – as noted – asthma is sometimes confused with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and it is necessary to start a battery of very specific tests.

For his part, the author of the document and coordinator of the Respiratory Group of the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN), José Tomás Gómez, has warned that an undiagnosed asthma patient costs the system 2,000 euros a year, compared to to the 400 that a patient diagnosed supposes.

He also noted that up to 1,000 people die every year in Spain as a result of asthma and has warned that half of patients are also poorly controlled.

Therefore, for the president of the Spanish Society of General Practitioners and Family (SEMG), Antonio Fernández-Pro, this document is "a turning point" in the treatment, monitoring and quality of life of patients.

The president of SEPAR has highlighted the importance of adherence to treatment, since asthma is a disease that with proper medication allows a normal life.

However, Jiménez-Ruiz has acknowledged that being a treatment with inhalers that should be used throughout life, "is usually heavy for the patient", in addition to using it chronically, you must use it well, something that does not always happen .

This expert has also warned of the risk of environmental pollution, which can contribute to the appearance of asthma attacks, but also, according to recent studies, is also the cause of the development of bronchial asthma and not only its aggravation.

"We have to raise awareness among health and political authorities, who must take urgent measures to prevent the important environmental contamination that exists in our cities," said Jiménez-Ruiz, who praised the decisions taken by municipalities such as those in Bilbao or Madrid. , in spite of being "unpopular", from the point of view of health "they are important".

To avoid the damage that pollution causes in people, the president of SEPAR has advised to avoid going out in the moments of greatest peak of pollution and, in the case of doing so, use masks with enough filters to avoid entry of nanoparticles, which cause the most damage to the lungs.

The author of the document and member of the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC), Javier Domínguez, has spoken about the triggers of the disease, among which there are genetic, environmental factors such as exposure to tobacco, or allergens and also the contamination or exposure to irritants that can cause inflammatory changes that end up leading to an asthma process.

The document has been prepared by a dozen experts from the five main scientific societies of the specialties most involved in the treatment of asthma: the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians, the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine, the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians, the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, and the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery.

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