(NewsTarget) The medical journal The Lancet is appealing to the medical
community to stop using the term "asthma" as it misleads people to believe it is
a disease rather than a group of symptoms with various origins and
Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties,
and it is generally accepted that attacks are brought on by inflamed airways,
but the actual spark for the inflammation is not known, nor is the reason why
some people contract asthma while others do not.
"Perhaps asthma as
a symptom is really only the clinical manifestation of several distinct
diseases," said The
Lancet article. "Rather than confusing scientists, doctors and patients even
further, is it not time to step out of the straight jacket of a seemingly
unifying name that has outlived its usefulness?"
The article went on to explain that asthma can have a multitude of
triggers, symptoms and treatments, providing more evidence that it is
inappropriate to label it as a single disease.
"The Lancet article raises
some interesting points; asthma is indeed a complex ailment," said Dr. Andrew
Miller, a spokesman for the British Lung Foundation. "But whether this is a good
enough reason to abandon a useful name which encompasses a range of symptoms
treated in a similar way is not yet clear."
...Currently, experts claim that approximately 300 million people have
asthma worldwide -- a number expected to reach 400 million by 2025. One in 250
deaths is caused by it, and children with allergies are more likely to
develop the condition. The Lancet noted that there has been an increase in
childhood allergies across the globe.
"Until the 19th century fever was regarded as a disease and maybe in
20, 30 or 50 years' time we will look back at asthma in the same way," said the
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Asthma - Not a disease, a collection of symptoms
Just found this article on NewsTarget, which seems to be an aggregator of highly biased, self-serving news with a decidedly non-medical bent. But this one may have some merit. Here's a pretty comprehensive excerpt: