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Minerva Medica 2002 December;93(6):437-46

language: Italian

Educational programs and self-management in bronchial asthma

Del Donno M., Verduri A., Chetta A., Olivieri D.


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Bronchial asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world and can affect people of all ages. In the last few years there has been a considerable improvement in the etiopathogenetic knowledge of the disease and extremely effective anti-asthmatic drugs are available. However, asthma-related morbidity and mortality are increased, especially in Western countries. In an attempt to reverse this negative trend, for a number of years national and international guidelines on asthma have been published all over the world. These guidelines have the aim of improving asthma diagnosis and treatment and of conveying a fundamental educational message both to health workers and to patients and their families. From the data in the literature it can be clearly seen that only through the application of valid educational programs is it possible for asthmatics to improve their knowledge of the disease and to understand how they can look after themselves by a careful evaluation of their own symptoms and respiratory function. They should also be aware of the drugs available for the treatment of both acute asthmatic crises and chronic asthma, but especially of the fact that this chronic inflammatory affection can be fully treated. In particular, an educational program organized with groups of maximum 10-12 people attending 2 lessons and with helpful training tools, can increase significantly asthma knowledge, treatment compliance and patient self-management. The aim of this review is to highlight the importance of educational programs and those obscure areas which slow down their large scale application and universal acceptance.

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