Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Inhaled Corticosteroids increase Diabetes Mellitus Risk

Inhaled corticosteroids are widely used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, these drugs may be associated with diabetes development and progression. In a study published in the most recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that inhaled corticosteroids were associated with a 34% increase in the rate of diabetes onset and in the rate of diabetes progression. At the highest inhaled doses the risk increased by 64% in diabetes onset and 54% in diabetes progression.

Although inhaled corticosteroids are recommended only for patients with the most severe COPD, current practice has led to their use in less severe cases. In fact, over 70% of all patients with COPD are using inhaled corticosteroids. Since COPD and diabetes tend to increase with age, it is particularly important to assess any possible interaction between inhaled corticosteroid use and deterioration in glycemic control.

Nasal Congestion can mean Severe Asthma

Nasal congestion can be a sign of severe asthma, which means that healthcare professionals should be extra vigilant when it comes to nasal complaints. Furthermore, more severe asthma appears to be more common than previously thought, reveals a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy's Krefting Research Centre.

Published in the online scientific journal Respiratory Research, the population study included 30,000 randomly selected participants from the west of Sweden and asked questions about different aspects of health.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is Your Asthma Well-Controlled? Find out with Asthma PACT!

Use the free Asthma PACT™ (Personalized Assessment and Control Tool) to discover if your (or your child’s) asthma is under control, and learn ways to improve your quality of life.
What is the Asthma PACT™?  
  • Personalized Assessment and Control Tool
  • Free service to improve asthma control
  • User friendly surveys that are easy to complete
  • Personalized reports tailored to your responses
  • Accurate, current, useful health information
  • Helpful solutions to improve asthma control
  • Free educational resources
What can I do with the PACT?

  • Access the PACT: Available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Save the PACT: Return to complete if interrupted
  • Print the PACT: Keep a copy for your records
  • Share the PACT: Key points to discuss with your health care provider
  • Retake the PACT: Return every 3 to 6 months to measure your progress
NEXT: Are you ready to take the PACT? Click Here 

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Guidelines Call for Increase in Vitamin D


New guidelines for vitamin D  call for increasing the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone aged 1-70, and raising it to 800 IU for adults older than 70 to optimize bone health.

The guidelines, released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), also raised daily calcium RDAs.

The new guidelines call for a recommended dietary allowance of 700 milligrams of calcium per day for children aged 1 through 3, 1,000 milligrams daily for almost all children aged 4 through 8, 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day for adolescents aged 9 through 18, and 1,000 milligrams for all adults aged 19 through 50  and men until age 71. Women starting at age 51 and men and women aged 71 and older need 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day.

The majority of Americans and Canadians are getting sufficient vitamin D and calcium, the new guidelines state. Some adolescent girls aged 9-18 may fall below the daily recommended level of calcium intake, and some elderly people may have an inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D.

New Food Allergy Guidelines Out

Comprehensive new guidelines on food allergies are out from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The new guidelines are directed at doctors to help them diagnose and manage food allergies.
Experts say food allergies appear to be on the rise, affecting nearly 5% of children younger than 5 and about 4% of teens and adults.

''We hope the guidelines will help patients and family members work better with their physician'' to identify the causes of food allergies, said Matthew Fenton, PhD, chief of the asthma, allergy, and inflammation branch of the division of allergy, immunology and transplantation at NIAID. He spoke at a Friday news conference detailing the new guidelines and led the guidelines development project for NIAID.

The guidelines address diagnostic tests, treatment, and prevention, among other areas.
While the guidelines are aimed at doctors, it will help parents and those with food allergies to be aware of their existence, said Hugh Sampson, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who serves on the guidelines coordinating committee and also spoke at the news conference. "When they see their physician or request a referral to an allergist, they should know what type of questions will be asked of them and have some idea of what kind of tests their physician will be doing."


Food Allergy Guidelines: Back Story

A coordinating committee representing 34 professional medical organizations, advocacy groups, and federal agencies oversaw the guidelines development.

Then, a 25-member expert panel was selected; it pored over published literature and drew on clinical opinions to draft the guidelines.

Public comment was invited before the final guidelines were issued.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black Seed Oil and Asthma

Asthma is thought to be caused by a number of environmental and genetic factors and is heavily influenced by the immune system. New research has shown that the oil of a tiny black seed from Western Asia may be the key to both the prevention and treatment of immune-related Asthma.

The Nigella sativa (black seed) oil contains over 100 known health-promoting properties including a wide range of the most potent antioxidants, B vitamins, 15 amino-acids, essential fatty acids, and an array of vital organic minerals. However, researchers believe that it is a substance called ‘nigellone’ that may be the real hero as it protects sufferers from histamine-induced bronchial spasms and significantly relieves the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and general coughing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Montelukast (Singulair)

Montelukast is used as a long-term (maintenance) treatment to prevent or treat asthma. It may also be used in people older than 14 years to prevent asthma brought on by exercise (bronchospasm).This medication is also used to treat allergic rhinitis, also known as allergies or hay fever.Montelukast works by blocking certain substances (leukotrienes) in the body. This effect helps to decrease symptoms (e.g., breathing problems, sneezing, stuffy/runny/itchy nose) caused by asthma or allergies.


Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking montelukast and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. This medication can be taken before/during/after a meal. If you are taking this medication for ongoing asthma, take your dose in the evening. If you are taking this medication for allergies (allergic rhinitis), take your dose at about the same time each day (either morning or evening). If you are taking this drug for both asthma and allergies, take your dose in the evening.For ongoing asthma or allergies, use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.If you are taking this medication to prevent asthma brought on by exercise, take your dose at least 2 hours before exercise. Do not take a dose before exercise if you are already taking this medication daily. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.This medication does not work immediately and should not be used for sudden attacks of breathing trouble. If you have asthma, your doctor must prescribe a quick-relief medicine/inhaler (e.g., albuterol/salbutamol) for sudden shortness of breath/asthma attacks while you are on this medication. You should always have a quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.Consult your doctor promptly if you have worsening of asthma symptoms or if you need to use your quick-relief inhaler more often than usual (4 or more puffs daily or use of more than 1 inhaler every 8 weeks).Do not decrease or stop any asthma medicine unless instructed to do so by the doctor.This medicine may come with a patient information leaflet. Read it carefully. If any of the information is unclear, ask your doctor or pharmacist.