Asthma is a fairly common disease and affects many people in different ways. To some it’s annoying, to others, it can be deadly. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 8.3% of Americans have asthma. Although there is no cure, asthma is treatable if diagnosed; however, there is a concern that the diagnosis of asthma may be falling behind. A New York study may have found that many asthma sufferers have gone undiagnosed. For asthma treatment in New York City, reach out to Dr. Shukla today.
Symptoms of Asthma
If you are having these chronic asthma symptoms, but are not diagnosed with asthma, be sure to contact Dr. Mayank Shukla to get further insight into what may be causing them:
- Trouble breathing
- Chronic coughing
- Tightness in chest
Undiagnosed Asthma Sufferers
According to a study done in The Journal of Urban Health, there may be a reason to believe that the real number of asthma sufferers is actually higher than the 26 million reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found that around 20% of New York City teenagers that had reported asthma symptoms were undiagnosed for having asthma. This is alarming because an undiagnosed case of asthma could prove troublesome or deadly if left unattended.
However, take this study with a grain of salt. Some allergists noted that a study based solely on a questionnaire leaves room for people who may be experiencing symptoms of asthma without actually having asthma. A survey can be unreliable for many reasons, and without proper pulmonary tests, these numbers are potentially inflated. Whether you consider this study reliable or not, it has brought two things to everyone’s attention. First, that the possibility of undiagnosed asthma sufferers is quite real. Second, that those affected by asthma has been steadily increasing since the 1980s.
What May be Causing More People to Have Asthma?
There has been much research done into whether urban or rural communities are at a higher risk for asthma. The findings were inconclusive in regards to geography but found that the level of asthma sufferers is linked to demographic factors in most cases. It seems logical to conclude that the rise in asthma is linked to the rise of industrialization and pollution. Although this seems logical, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology believes there is another reason.
This association thinks the hygiene hypothesis may be to blame. This theory states that asthma is increasing due to our environment being too clean. Being underexposed to certain germs, our bodies become unable to determine between harmful and harmless irritants. As our living conditions become more sterile, we are weakening our immune systems, which plays a large part in asthma. This theory is supported by studies that show those living on a farm to have fewer allergic diseases due to the bacteria that train the immune system. Some other factors that could possibly be contributing to the increase in asthma are obesity, vitamin D deficiency, and reliance on antibiotics.
The Importance of Diagnosing Correctly
This study is helpful in bringing awareness to the possibility of undiagnosed asthma sufferers, and to be vigilant while diagnosing. Not every person that has asthma symptoms has asthma, and many of those symptoms can be attributed to something else. There are tests that can be used for suspected asthma patients, and those tests should be used to their fullest extent. When you are aware of a patient who is showing signs of asthma, it is important to verify those symptoms rather than guess a diagnosis of flimsy factors. The earlier someone is diagnosed with asthma, the higher quality of life they will have. Undiagnosed asthma gets worse over time, and the likelihood of recovery decreases the longer it goes unattended. Speaking to a knowledgeable pulmonologist is helpful when suspecting asthma. Contact Dr. Shukla today to get his opinion on asthma treatment in New York City.