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10:34 AM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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This isn't a great time of year for asthma because of the high pollen counts.Iif you are one of the millions of people who suffer from asthma... new studies show you may be able to decrease the amount you use your inhaler.  Dr. Bruce Hensel explains.

Officer Frank Grizzaffi walks up to 10 miles every day.

Frank has no problem with the exercise despite his moderate asthma, which he controls with inhaled steroids.

Frank Grizzaffi, asthma patient: "there was a regiment that i was supposed to follow. it was 2 puffs in the morning and 2 puffs in the evening."

That regimen... which is the current recommendation... helps many people. but the latest study questions the need for regular use.

Doctor William Calhoun and coauthors compared one group of patients who follow the current regimen with another that adjusted dose based on a test of nitrus oxide in their breath to a third group that used the inhalers only when they had symptoms.

The results... reported in the latest journal of the american medical association were surprising.

Dr. William Calhoun, study author: "the symptom-based arm resulted in a reduced use of inhaled steroids. a 50% reduction. it also resulted in a reduction in exacerbations in the autumn... a time when exacerbations are typically high and it also resulted in a reduction in absenteeism from school or work."

That changed the way Frank uses his inhaler.  Good news, because as helpful as the inhalers may be... the less they are used, the better, since they may cause side effects for some patients.

The authors stress that this is not the case for every patient.  If you have asthma, talk to your doctor about which treatment and how often is best for you.  But you might want to mention this study to the doctor and potentially reduce the amount of medicine you take and may feel just as good.

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