Most young people with asthma haven’t been prepared to transition to adult asthma care

Lifestyle

Young adults with asthma need to be made aware that their medical needs surrounding asthma will likely change as they age, and it may be necessary to transition to a new practitioner in their future. A new study being presented at this year’s American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals that most young adults surveyed did not receive sufficient transition preparation from their pediatric asthma providers.

“We surveyed 46 young adults with asthma between the ages of 18-30 years,” said allergist Suzanne Ngo, MD, ACAAI member and lead study author. “19 were recruited from a pediatric hospital, and 27 were recruited from a university; either current students or staff in a university system. Of those we surveyed, most participants did not receive sufficient transition preparation from their pediatric asthma providers, no matter who was providing their asthma care.”

Participants from the pediatric hospital cohort received their care from an asthma specialist, while the majority of those in the university survey cohort setting received their care from a general provider. Half of all those surveyed did not remember being introduced to concepts of transitioning care, including asthma self-management, by their pediatric asthma provider, and only 17% said they’d received information about an adult provider to whom they should transfer their care.

“Teens who are about to go off to college are at an ideal stage to discuss transition issues,” says allergist William Anderson, MD, ACAAI member and author on the study. “They are entering a new era, possibly in a different part of the country, and may be making their own healthcare decisions for the first time. Introducing concepts about self-care in terms of what will be changing in their lives and what they need to take responsibility for can help them control their asthma symptoms as they begin their journey into adulthood.”

Asthma is not curable, but it is something that can be controlled. Many asthma sufferers don’t know that allergists are specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage asthma symptoms. Allergists can create targeted and specialized asthma plans to keep asthma symptoms under control.