Archive for November, 2010

Asthma Care Poor in the US?

“Less than a third of patients with asthma reported that their symptoms are well-controlled. The vast majority of patients experience asthma symptoms or exacerbations, and most report that asthma interferes with their lives,” said Eli O. Meltzer, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego.

A synopsis of Dr. Eli O. Meltzer’s presentation at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting was authored by Fran Lowery in Asthma Care Poor in the United States. Lowery reports the dismal results of  a national survey showing the care of asthma is “suboptimal and that the disease remains poorly controlled”, despite medical gains in asthma management.

“The messages are several from this survey,” Dr. Meltzer said. “One, patients are not adequately cared for. Two, they’re not adequately informed. Three, if they have had symptoms that often, they are not doing well and they had inadequate expectations. And fourth, doctors are not doing a good enough job educating their patients, monitoring them to make sure they are doing better, and making sure they are using the appropriate medications.”

Do you have asthma?  Where do your symptoms and treatment plan fit into the survey? Do you have a written action plan that adequately controls your asthma?

If you have questions regarding your current asthma medications and treatment plan, please contact your healthcare provider, or if you live in the NYC area,  I invite you to  contact my office at 866-832-5537.  Communication is key to successful treatment.

Read the entire article, Asthma Care Poor in the United States here. Visit NYCAllergyDoctor for an overview of my practice’s Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Services.

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Peanut Bans an Overreaction to Food Allergies?

NPR’s April Fulton reports that the nation’s top allergy experts previewed some new guidelines that are intended to clear up confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies. At the base of the confusion, the peanut. This article examines the proposed ban of the peanut and the differences between being allergic or intolerant of certain foods.

Regarding the ban on peanuts, Sami Bahna, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology commented “If we are going to eliminate peanuts, and another child is allergic to hazelnuts, and another child is allergic to milk, and another child to wheat — there’s no end to this.”

While the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease says food allergies occur in 6 to 8 percent of kids, and about 4 percent of adults, there’s a lot of self-diagnosis, overdiagnosis, and just plain misdiagnosis Bahna says.  He suggests sometimes people suspect they are allergic when they are really intolerant. This happens a lot in the case of milk, he says, and requires different treatment.

Additionally, an earlier NPR report by Allison Aubrey found that several years ago, researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver conducted “food challenge” tests on 125 children with allergies and eczema and found that more than 50 percent of the kids could actually tolerate foods they were told to avoid.

These findings are confusing when placed alongside the public’s conception of food allergies.

Do you feel a ban on peanuts is an extreme reaction, or a medical necessity?

Have you avoided foods because you believe you are allergic or intolerant? I invite you to learn more about allergic conditions, including food allergies, on this web tool,  Allergy U.

If you have questions, take the initiative and call me at 866-632-5537 (NYC area) for an appointment. Together we can research your symptoms and get you the answers you need.

Read the entire NPR blog post here

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Sinus Infections Leading to Immunodeficiency Diagnosis

At CNN’s “The Chart” blog they answer a question about the seriousness of Immunoglobulin (IgA) deficiency in a child who was tested for immunodeficiencies after experiencing several sinus infections after age 3. This is an example of how sinus infections may not always be the direct result of a sinus problem. While most often they are caused by allergies, viral infections, or physical blockages sinus infections may also be indicative of other problems, such as an immunodeficiency. Though, this isn’t common.

The most common causes of sinus infection should still be taken seriously. Sinusits is more than an inconvenience or irritation and if untreated can lead to other health problems and potentially fatal complications. If you have questions or concerns about sinusitis or have been suffering frequent or long-lasting sinus infections, contact our office to set up an appointment.

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Alternative Flu and Sinusitis Treatments

ABC reports on a Phoenix, Arizona spa offering alternative treatments for flu and sinusitis. The treatments include massage and homeopathic remedies. While these alternative methods may provide some relief or even help those suffering from the flu or sinusitis there isn’t definitive evidence to show them effective. Alternative treatments rely heavily on anecdotal evidence and should be approached carefully.

Treating the flu or sinusitis exclusively with alternative medicine may worsen the problem. While there are some valuable treatments available as alternatives few are proven and regulation is lax. Before considering any alternative treatments consult with a doctor. Contact our office to set up an appointment.

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Sinus Infection

The Daily Mail’s “Ask The Doctor” section has a thorough discussion of sinuses, their purpose, and how they get infected. The overview gives a good idea of why sinusitis is so common and an understanding of the symptoms. Sinusitis is typically associated with the cold and flu and may be a bacterial infection following the viral infection. If a cold lasts more than the typical two weeks a sinus infection is likely. Chronic sinusitis is usually tied to other causes such as allergies or a physical blockage like a deviated septum.

Whatever the cause of sinus infection it is a common ailment and treatment is important. Antibiotics will only be effective for a bacterial sinus infection and will have no effect on sinusitis caused by any other means. Decongestants and anti-inflammatory nasal sprays are usually what helps to alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis. When the cause is a physical blockage, surgery may be necessary. If you have been suffering from sinusitis, contact our office to set an appointment to learn about your option.

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