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Asthma Misdiagnosis

Zoomer Report2019-10-20By: Libby Znaimer

Do you have asthma? It is extremely common, about three million Canadians have been diagnosed with the condition. But researchers now say if you are one of them, you should double-check. A study led by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute found that fully a third of adults being treated for asthma don’t actually have the disorder, either because they have been misdiagnosed or have gone into remission..

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways that causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

It can be brought on by a reaction to such allergens as dust, mould and pet dander, by sensitivities to paint fumes and tobacco smoke, and or even exercise or exposure to cold or hot, humid air.

In a study of more than 600 adults, doctors found 203 of the participants were being unnecessarily and less than half of that group had received the proper lung function test at the time of their initial diagnosis. Although the tests which are called spirometry, are cheap and easy to perform, they are not necessarily readily available. The researchers want that to change. In addition to the misdiagnoses, at least 20% of the cases had gone into remission – another example of why it’s important to check to make sure you still need the medications you have been taking for awhile.


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