HealthDay News — In adult patients diagnosed with asthma, only 15% discuss with their provider how their jobs may affect their disease, despite that nearly half have asthma that is possibly work-related, results of a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology indicate.
“Work-related asthma is under-diagnosed and under-recognized,” said Jacek Mazurek, MD, MS, PhD, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, W.V. said in a journal press release.
“Unfortunately, many people may believe that nothing can be done, or may worry about losing their jobs, so are reluctant to address the topic with their provider.”
To assess the proportion of employed adult patients with current asthma who talked about asthma associated with work with a health-care professional and to identify factors associated with this communication, the investigators examined data from 40 states and the District of Columbia from the 2006 to 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Asthma Call-Back Survey.
Among 50,433 ever-employed adult patients with current asthma, 9.1% were ever told by a provider that their asthma was related to any job the patients had and 11.7% ever told a clinician that this was the case. When responses to two of the questions were combined, the proportion of those who communicated with a health professional about asthma and work was 14.6%.
Early testing is recommended, according to the news release. Once workplace-related asthma develops, continued exposure to job-related asthma triggers can lead to permanent lung problems, and the risk can increase the longer the exposure continues.
“A thorough occupational history is critical to first establishing a diagnosis of work-related asthma, and then putting measures in place to prevent further exposure, or to treat it,” said Mazurek.