High School Students Can Breathe a Little Easier

Eight-week initiative helps urban teens manage asthma symptoms

(RxWiki News) An eight-week program known as The Asthma Self-Management for Adolescents (ASMA) resulted in better management of symptoms, according to teens who took part in the initiative.

Aimed at 9th and 10th graders in urban settings, about 345 students took part in the program -- an intensive effort to help students manage their asthma symptoms through three educational group sessions and individual coaching sessions, held at least one each week for five weeks. The students were coached about medical visits and how to work with their medical provider to more effectively control their asthma.

Those enlisted reported an asthma diagnosis, symptoms of moderate to severe-persistent asthma or use of asthma medication.

Those enrolled in ASMA took significantly more steps to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring and had improved self-confidence in managing their asthma compared to the control group, based on follow-up interviews. Researchers found a 31 percent reduction in night awakenings due to asthma, a 42 percent reduction in activity restriction due to asthma, a 28 percent reduction in acute medical visits, a 49 percent reduction in emergency department visits and a 76 percent reduction in hospitalizations for asthma compared with the control group.

"Our findings indicate ASMA is effective in improving asthma self-management and in reducing asthma morbidity and urgent health-care use in low-income, urban minority adolescents," said Jean-Marie Bruzzese, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.

About 7 million children have asthma in the U.S., accounting for about 13 million school days missed in total.

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Review Date: 
December 8, 2010