Asthma patients may be treated by primary care physicians, by asthma specialists, or by a combination of health care providers. Recently, the question of who achieves the best outcomes at less cost has been found to be the asthma specialist.
Your asthma may be diagnosed by your personal or family physician, or by an asthma specialist such as an allergist. The important thing is that the symptoms of asthma be recognized early and dealt with effectively. The longer you wait, the more permanent the damage to your lungs may be. Since symptoms vary widely, it is essential that your doctor determine the severity of your asthma and develop the best plan to treat it.
Regular visits to your doctor to monitor your condition will help you meet your treatment goals. During your visits, the doctor will review your asthma symptoms, activities and medications. Between visits you might be using a peak flow meter to monitor the health of your lungs. Close monitoring of your condition will help you and your doctor determine if any modifications in your treatment are necessary. Newer breathing tests allow precise monitoring of your lung function.
When managed aggressively, asthma is more likely to result in fewer hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and missed work and school days. The cost of hospitalizations alone accounts for more than half of all expenditures for asthma.
With the Care of an Allergist:
- Patients have fewer asthma hospitalizations and shorter lengths of stay
- Patients have shorter hospital stays and reduction in costs
- Patients have fewer return visits to the hospital
- Patients experience fewer emergency room visits
- Patients have fewer sick care office visits
- Patients have a reduction in lost time from work or school
- There is improved patient outcome and patients feel better and are healthier