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Nationwide Program Launches Free Screenings During National Asthma Awareness MonthLearn if Asthma or Exercise is Taking Your Breath Away
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., April 1, 2011 The nation s allergists help adults and children learn if they are at risk for asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) as the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) conducts its 15th annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. The program, which launches in May during National Asthma Awareness Month, offers free screenings at more than 200 locations across the country for people who have symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath that occur frequently, during exercise or at night. Many people who cough at night or get short of breath when they exercise don t think they are at risk for conditions like asthma or EIB, said allergist John Winder, M.D., chair of the ACAAI Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. But these symptoms shouldn t be taken lightly and anyone who experiences breathing problems should attend a free screening to see an allergist who can help identify the source of their suffering.
More than 24 million Americans, including 7.1 million children, have asthma. The disease is responsible for almost 4,000 deaths a year. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.
An asthma attack is often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives, respiratory infections and physical exertion such as exercise.
When people exercise, they often breathe rapidly through their mouth instead of allowing their nose to warm and humidify the air. The cold, dry air that reaches the bronchial tubes can trigger asthma symptoms. These symptoms typically occur within five to 15 minutes after starting exercise and may occur several minutes after exercise has stopped. Between 80 percent to 90 percent of people with asthma suffer some degree of EIB, which also occurs in people without asthma, affecting about 10 percent of the general population.
Asthma and EIB don t have to slow anyone down or keep them from having an active lifestyle, said Dr. Winder. Both conditions can be controlled and the first step is diagnosis and treatment, including medication. If you have breathing problems and don t know the cause or want to make sure you have good control of your asthma or EIB, attend a free screening and find the relief you need.
Allergists, working with other physicians and allied health professionals, conduct the free asthma screenings at shopping malls, civic centers, health fairs and other locations throughout the country. The screenings also offer people already diagnosed with asthma the chance to see if their condition is under control and can direct people who may be suffering from other breathing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to seek professional diagnosis.
During a screening, adults complete a 20-question Life Quality (LQ) Test developed by the ACAAI. Children under age 15 take a special test called the Kids Asthma Check that allows them to answer questions themselves about any breathing problems. Another version of the Check is available for parents of children up to 8 years of age to complete on their child s behalf.
Participants take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube, and meet with an allergist to determine if they should seek a thorough examination and diagnosis.
Teva Respiratory, LLC supports the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.
To learn more about allergies and asthma, take a relief test and find an allergist, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org
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