SOURCE: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

May 02, 2007 09:36 ET

New Campaign Has Asthma Patients Asking "What's My IgE?"

Asthma Sufferers Encouraged to Know Their IgE Number; Free Screenings, New Web Site Aims to Raise Allergic Asthma Awareness

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 2, 2007 -- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) today announced the launch of their "What's My IgE?" campaign during May, National Asthma Awareness Month. The initiative is designed to educate the public about allergic asthma, raise awareness of IgE testing as a means of screening and motivate patients to speak with a specialist for improved asthma management.

Asthma affects approximately 20 million people in the United States. Approximately 60 percent of asthma sufferers have allergic asthma, a type of asthma set-off by allergens (e.g., dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold spores and cockroaches). People with allergic asthma may produce too much IgE (Immunoglobulin E) when they are exposed to allergens.

"People are surprised to find out that 60 percent of asthma sufferers have allergic asthma, but the real shock is that only a small percent of asthma patients are tested for allergies," said Bill Storms, MD, allergist with The William Storms Allergy Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Because IgE is involved early in your body's response to an allergen, reducing IgE may help prevent asthma symptoms and attacks before they start."

According to Mike Tringale, director of external affairs at AAFA, knowing one's IgE may provide patients with the information they need to decide the most appropriate treatment with their asthma specialist.

"Patients with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity, know that the key to long-term management is to know their numbers, whether it be blood sugar, blood pressure or body mass index," said Tringale. "This campaign aims to create that same awareness of IgE among allergic asthma sufferers so they can speak with their specialists to find a treatment plan that is right for them."

As part of the "What's My IgE?" campaign, AAFA is offering free IgE screenings to asthma patients starting in the month of May in select cities in the U.S. IgE screenings involve a simple blood test, similar to those conducted for cholesterol or diabetes screenings, and can be conducted in as little as two minutes.

AAFA also encourages asthma patients to visit its campaign Web site, www.WhatsMyIgE.com. This online resource contains information about allergic asthma and IgE including:

--  A downloadable "What's My IgE?" brochure
--  Information on where to get an IgE screening in select locations
    across the U.S.
--  Assisting patients in locating an asthma specialist in their area
--  A tool called a Doctor Discussion Guide -- to help asthma patients
    communicate with their specialists about the impact asthma has on their
    daily lives
    
"Each year in the United States, more than 1.9 million people with asthma are sent to the emergency room, and nearly 5,000 die from the condition," said Dr. Storms. "Clearly, patients and specialists need to work together to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Knowing your IgE may be a valuable first step in that process."

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America® is the leading nonprofit consumer and patient organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information to the public, offers educational programs to consumers and health professionals, leads advocacy efforts to improve patient care, and supports research to find cures.

"What's My IgE?" is supported by Genentech, Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Angel Waldron
    Communications Manager
    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
    202.466.7643 x248
    Email Contact