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New guidelines for managing asthma

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New national asthma management guidelines have been released.

The National Asthma Council Australia revised its guidelines to assist GPs, pharmacists and nurses in diagnosing ad managing asthma.

Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia Committee Professor Amanda Barnard said asthma can be controlled, and the new evidence-based, practical advice features clear diagnostic pathways for differential diagnosis of asthma.

 “These guidelines will help people live the best life they can,” Professor Bernard said.

“New medications have been approved and the evidence base has changed substantially since 2006 when the last guidelines were released.”

The guidelines feature an emergency-treatment guide, as well as evidence on diagnosis, management, and lifestyle.

The guidelines focus on controlling asthma and provide detailed information on how doctors should go about increasing and decreasing medications until the optimum dosage is achieved.

“People should have no night-time waking, no shortness of breath, and should not be missing school or work,” Professor Bernard said.

“The thinking on diagnosis has changed over the years, with an acknowledgment in the guidelines that it is extremely difficult to accurately diagnose asthma in a child under two.

“Wheeze is common in young children, for a variety of reasons, and not all wheeze is asthma.”

“If there is no wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing, it is unlikely to be asthma.”

Professor Barnard said the revised guidelines are a good opportunity for people to visit their GP to update their written action plans.

Sanja Novakovic