Asthma is over-diagnosed in 30% of American adults

Asthma Icon
Asthma is over-diagnosed in approximately 30% of adult North Americans; that is the abbreviated conclusion of a new Canadian study presented at the recent ATS 2016 International Conference. Lack of spirometry testing among physicians may be the primary culprit.
Step 1 in determining a diagnosis of asthma is to first determine that airway obstruction is present. As the latest NAEPP Asthma Guidelines state “In all patients age ≥5 years of age, use spirometry to determine that airway obstruction is at least partially reversible.” The guidelines also recommend that asthma patients be monitored with spirometry testing at least every 1-2 years.
However, of those asthmatic patients in the study only 49% received a spirometry test at the time of their diagnosis. Not surprisingly, of 613 patients with a physician diagnosis of asthma, appropriate testing later revealed that 230 or 37.5% of these patients did not currently have asthma!
Diagnosing asthma without spirometry increases the chance of misdiagnosis and associated issues arising from missed alternative diagnoses or unnecessary use of asthma medications.
Contact Jones