SOURCE: American Lung Association

October 25, 2007 18:00 ET

"Breathe Well, Live Well" Brings New Asthma Treatment Guidelines to Life

American Lung Association Gives Patients, Doctors Hands-On Strategies to Living With Asthma

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 25, 2007) - As physicians nationwide are introduced this week to updated asthma treatment guidelines from federal health authorities, the American Lung Association is launching "Breath Well, Live Well: An Asthma Management Program for Adults," to primary care providers, specialists, and insurance providers involved in the treatment of the more than 5 million American adults with asthma.

"Primary care providers -- family physicians, internists, nurse practitioners, and others--are on the front lines treating adults with asthma, which can be life-threatening if it's not controlled," said Norman H. Edelman, MD, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer. "Those physicians and nurses are like patients' first responders, and the American Lung Association is reaching out to arm them with the tools they need to help their patients with asthma so that they can minimize potential emergency situations."

"Breathe Well, Live Well," the American Lung Association's state-of-the-art asthma education tool, was developed specifically for adults with asthma, and is focused on reducing illness and disability due to asthma by improving asthma knowledge and self-management skills. More than 22 million Americans have asthma, which caused close to 1.8 million emergency room visits in 2005. Asthma accounted for an estimated 14.5 million lost work days in 2004, and the annual direct health care costs of asthma is approximately $14.7 billion, with indirect costs, such as lost productivity, totaling $5 billion.

"Asthma has an enormous economic impact across the country and is a reality in every workplace, every school, and every community in America," said Bernadette A. Toomey, American Lung Association President & Chief Executive Officer. "The ultimate success of 'Breathe Well, Live Well' -- greater asthma control for individuals who will live healthier lives -- will depend on our partnerships with the healthcare community, sponsors, and corporations who understand the power of investing in their employees' wellness."

For the first time in a decade, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), which is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI), has issued a comprehensive update of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma (Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma). The guidelines' Summary Report, which is a basic reference for healthcare providers, is now available online http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthsumm.htm. The guidelines emphasize the importance of asthma control and introduce new approaches for monitoring asthma. Updated recommendations for managing asthma include an expanded section on childhood asthma (with an additional age group), new guidance on medications, new recommendations on patient education in settings beyond the physician's office, and new advice for controlling environmental factors that can cause asthma symptoms.

"NAEPP's updated guidelines are a framework focused on the goal of asthma control, and 'Breathe Well, Live Well' gives physicians a tangible strategy for patient education, which is emphasized in the clinical guidelines and is a key element of successful asthma management," Dr. Edelman said. "Control is achieved not just by prescribing and managing the right medications for each patient. It is critical that people with asthma learn about the condition, how to understand their symptoms, use medications properly, avoid triggers that lead to asthma attacks, and work with their doctors to achieve asthma control. 'Breathe Well, Live Well' brings those strategies to life."

"Breathe Well, Live Well" follows the Asthma Management Guidelines and includes the four key components of effective asthma management: an educational component to learn about asthma including early warning signs and trigger identification and control, tracking asthma by symptoms or peak flow meter use, improving communication skills with health care providers, and an individualized asthma action plan from daily asthma management to handling asthma episodes. "Breathe Well, Live Well" consists of three modules: orientation (via telephone call), workshop, and follow-up and reinforcement (via telephone call). The four- to five-hour intensive workshop covers: understanding the pathophysiology of asthma; improving communication skills with healthcare providers; learning about asthma medicines; tracking asthma symptoms and using a peak flow meter; identifying and controlling asthma triggers; utilizing an asthma action plan and knowing what to do in an emergency.

Based on the data collected during the "Breathe Well, Live Well" pilot site evaluation, the program proved to be effective in increasing knowledge, perceived self-efficacy for asthma management and in increasing the frequency of asthma self-management practices. In addition, the program was well received among participants and facilitators.

The American Lung Association is actively recruiting Certified Asthma Educators and other experts in the field of asthma to be trained to deliver "Breathe Well, Live Well."

"Breathe Well, Live Well" is currently available in a number of locations throughout the U.S., with national availability projected for 2008. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP is the national sponsor of "Breathe Well, Live Well," which is further supported by the Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Environmental Health.

About the American Lung Association

Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to www.lungusa.org.

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