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What do patients need to know about their asthma?

William Bailey, MD
Andrea J Apter, MD, MSc, MA
Section Editors
Bruce S Bochner, MD
Robert A Wood, MD
Deputy Editor
Helen Hollingsworth, MD


There are a number of publications that describe what patients need to know about their asthma [1-10]. Perhaps the most important and far-reaching document on what to include in an asthma education program has been "the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: Expert Panel Report 3, Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma -- Full Report 2007" [1]. The full text is available at the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [1]. The Global Initiative for Asthma updated their guidelines in 2014 which includes a guide for patients [9,11].

A comprehensive asthma education program covering all asthma education topics in depth may not be possible in all clinical settings. Based on a series of focus group interviews, the "core elements" necessary in an asthma education program have been identified [12,13]. The three topics of primary importance for patient education are the following:

Function and appropriate use of medication

Pathophysiology of asthma

Issues in the prevention and treatment of symptoms


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: May 29, 2015.
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