Asthma continues to be one of the most prevalent chronic lung diseases and growing health concerns in the state of Texas. Asthma, a potentially deadly illness, affects the lungs and causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen, and surrounding muscles to tighten. Symptoms include episodes of coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath.
According to the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2005, an estimated 1.5 million (6.8 percent) adult Texans and 458 thousand (7.3 percent) children 0-17 years of age currently report having asthma. Also, an estimated 2.5 million (11.1 percent) adult Texans and 728 thousand (11.6 percent) children report having had asthma during their lifetime.
In addition, asthma has had a significant economic impact on the state of Texas. According to the Texas Health Care Information Collection in 2004, hospital discharges listing asthma as the principle diagnosis and other diagnoses account for about $353 million in total charges.
The Texas Asthma Plan serves as a planning tool to initiate asthma activities in the state of Texas. The 2007-2010 Edition contains issue items with updated goals and action steps specific to regional areas throughout Texas.
Outdoor air pollution and asthma.
Lancet. 2014 May 3;383(9928):1581-92
Authors: Guarnieri M, Balmes JR
Traffic and power generation are the main sources of urban air pollution. The idea that outdoor air pollution can cause exacerbations of pre-existing asthma is supported by an evidence base that has been accumulating for several decades, with several studies suggesting a contribution to new-onset asthma as well. In this Series paper, we discuss the effects of particulate matter (PM), gaseous pollutants (ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide), and mixed traffic-related air pollution. We focus on clinical studies, both epidemiological and experimental, published in the previous 5 years. From a mechanistic perspective, air pollutants probably cause oxidative injury to the airways, leading to inflammation, remodelling, and increased risk of sensitisation. Although several pollutants have been linked to new-onset asthma, the strength of the evidence is variable. We also discuss clinical implications, policy issues, and research gaps relevant to air pollution and asthma.
PMID: 24792855 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Effect of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and child health: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Lancet. 2014 May 3;383(9928):1549-60
Authors: Been JV, Nurmatov UB, Cox B, Nawrot TS, van Schayck CP, Sheikh A
BACKGROUND: Smoke-free legislation has the potential to reduce the substantive disease burden associated with second-hand smoke exposure, particularly in children. We investigated the effect of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and child health.
METHODS: We searched 14 online databases from January, 1975 to May, 2013, with no language restrictions, for published studies, and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for unpublished studies. Citations and reference lists of articles of interest were screened and an international expert panel was contacted to identify additional studies. We included studies undertaken with designs approved by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care that reported associations between smoking bans in workplaces, public places, or both, and one or more predefined early-life health indicator. The primary outcomes were preterm birth, low birthweight, and hospital attendances for asthma. Effect estimates were pooled with random-effects meta-analysis. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42013003522.
FINDINGS: We identified 11 eligible studies (published 2008-13), involving more than 2·5 million births and 247,168 asthma exacerbations. All studies used interrupted time-series designs. Five North American studies described local bans and six European studies described national bans. Risk of bias was high for one study, moderate for six studies, and low for four studies. Smoke-free legislation was associated with reductions in preterm birth (four studies, 1,366,862 individuals; -10·4% [95% CI -18·8 to -2·0]; p=0·016) and hospital attendances for asthma (three studies, 225,753 events: -10·1% [95% CI -15·2 to -5·0]; p=0·0001). No significant effect on low birthweight was identified (six studies, >1·9 million individuals: -1·7% [95% CI -5·1 to 1·6]; p=0·31).
INTERPRETATION: Smoke-free legislation is associated with substantial reductions in preterm births and hospital attendance for asthma. Together with the health benefits in adults, this study provides strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free environments.
FUNDING: Thrasher Fund, Lung Foundation Netherlands, International Paediatric Research Foundation, Maastricht University, Commonwealth Fund.
PMID: 24680633 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Initiating inhaled steroid treatment for children with asthma in the emergency room: current reported prescribing rates and frequently cited barriers.
Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 Sep;29(9):957-62
Authors: Andrews AL, Teufel RJ, Basco WT
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine how frequently emergency department (ED) physicians prescribe inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) and describe commonly cited barriers.
METHODS: We surveyed members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine between May and August 2011. Demographic data were collected. Using the knowledge-attitude-behavior model for barriers to physician guideline adherence, we asked 20 Likert scale questions regarding barriers to ICS prescribing. Our primary outcome was reported frequency of ICS prescribing. We defined frequent prescribers as those who prescribe ICS more than 25% of the time. Logistic regression models were built for each barrier category and identified barriers that predict infrequent prescribing.
RESULTS: Two hundred seven (19.5%) of the 1062 surveyed responded; 75.8% report prescribing ICS 25% of the time or less. For knowledge, those who agreed that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines are not clear regarding the ED physician's role were less likely to be frequent prescribers compared with those who disagreed (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.11-0.90). For attitude, those who agreed it is not the role of the ED physician to prescribe long-term medications were less likely to be frequent prescribers (adjusted OR, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.04-0.37). For behavior, those who agreed they do not routinely start long-term medications because they cannot see patients in follow-up were less likely to be frequent prescribers (adjusted OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07-0.58).
CONCLUSIONS: Emergency department physicians report low rates of ICS prescribing. Commonly cited barriers include unclear guidelines, believing that long-term medication prescribing is not within their role, and inability to see patients in follow-up. Addressing guideline discrepancies may improve preventive care delivery in the ED.
PMID: 23974712 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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