Read an Excerpt
You may. be shocked to know that asthma is on the increase. There are now 14.6 million Americans who suffer from asthma-up from 10.4 million in 1990. Asthma is the number one diagnosis of people admitted to hospitals. Almost 5 million American children have asthma, and the numbers keep growing. In fact, from 1980 to 1993, the death rate among kids with asthma doubled.
Even more surprising is how often asthma is misdiagnosed by doctors. In fact, some studies suggest misdiagnosis is one of the primary reasons hospital admissions and deaths related to asthma are so high.
There are two important points to know about asthma. First, as the above statistics so graphically emphasize, asthma is a very dangerous and complex disease. Second, asthma is treatable. And the more you know about the disease itself and the treatment options available, the more likely you are to survive and flourish.
The People's Medical Society published the first edition of this book in 1994. Since then, this book has become one of the best-selling books on the subject of asthma. Its popularity, we are told by readers, is the simple way we deliver what is often confusing and technical medical information. Using a straight forward, question and-answer format, Asthma: Questions You have ... Answers You Need covers all the important facts and studies. Readers have told us, too, that many of the questions we ask (and answer, of course) are ones they never would have thought to ask. And that's precisely why we chose this approach.
This book is a completely updated and revised edition of Asthma: Questions You Have ... Answers You Need. Much has happened in the way of medical researchin the past five years. There is a better understanding of the triggers that tend to-spark an acute asthma attack. There are new and improved medications that can prevent attacks and ease those that do occur. New treatment models have been developed that are bringing relief to thousands of people. In other words, it was time to provide readers with new and better information.
As the nation's largest nonprofit consumer health advocacy organization, the People's Medical Society is committed to providing helpful and healthful information to the consumer. It is our philosophy that an informed consumer is an empowered one-a person capable of making the best health care decisions in partnerhsip with her health care provider. And studies confirm our philosophy. The more a consumer knows about her condition, the more involved she becomes in the decision making, the more likely a successful outcome will occur.
Finally, we must acknowledge the work of Paula Brisco in the development of this book. Although Paula is not the author of this edition of Asthma: Questions You Have ... Answers You Need, she wrote the earlier edition. Much of her excellent work and research remains a part of this book.
Charles B. Inlander, President
People's Medical Society
Behind the Scenes of Asthma
Q: What is asthma?
A: Asthma is a disease in which air passages in the lungs periodically become narrowed, obstructed or even blocked. Medical science classifies asthma as a respiratory disease, because it interferes with the process by which oxygen is delivered to the body's cells-and, as You know, oxygen is necessary to sustain life.
What is an asthma attack?
A: This is the term used to describe a period of breathing difficulty. People who are in the midst of an asthma attack often experience -wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath...