The Lung Association calls for action to reduce Misdiagnosis of asthma

Ottawa, ON  - New research published in the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrates that people are continuing to be misdiagnosed with asthma.  The findings published in the study – Reevaluation of Diagnosis in Adults with Physician-Diagnosed Asthma - show that 33 per cent of those recently diagnosed with asthma do not have it. For some this meant their asthma was in remission; for others it meant their asthma was misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis, the study states, is often a result of the diagnosis being based solely on the patient’s symptoms and the physician’s observations rather than through spirometry testing.

These findings further confirm that more needs to be done to ensure spirometry testing is available and accessible to all Canadians from coast to coast. The Canadian Thoracic Society Asthma guidelines recommend the use of lung function tests, primarily spirometry, to confirm the diagnosis of asthma. Additionally, asthma should be monitored on an on-going basis to ensure appropriate treatment continues to be administered. Asthma remains misunderstood at all stages of the disease – from diagnosis to treatment.

“We all need to do a better job of asthma management in Canada. Asthma is a fairly common lung disease, yet there are still gaps in knowledge when it comes to both diagnosis and treatment.” says Debra Lynkowski, CEO of The Lung Association – National.  “Accurate diagnosis is what leads to an appropriate treatment plan. The bottom line is every Canadian with asthma symptoms should have a spirometry test. ”

The study, partially funded by The Lung Association, complements a report recently released by The Lung Association that found that the majority of Canadians with asthma have a false sense of control of their disease. According to the Asthma Report, released in October 2016, nine in ten Canadians with asthma do not have it under control. This can lead to reduced quality of daily life and visits to the emergency rooms.

“What we are finding is that there is a glaring gap in knowledge at all stages of this fairly common disease,” Lynkowski adds. “Asthma is a serious lung disease and Canadians with asthma deserve a proper diagnosis so that they can manage it. It is clear to us at The Lung Association that our education and advocacy efforts are far from finished and we are committed to advocating on behalf of all Canadians to ensure that policy makers take into consideration Canadians’ lung health in their decisions.”

Canadians with asthma should ensure they are taking their medication as prescribed by their doctor and if they didn’t receive a spirometry test they should ask their doctor for one.

The Lung Association is committed to ensuring that Canadians receive proper education and care for their lung diseases, including asthma.  Canadians who have questions about asthma or spirometry should contact The Lung Association Health Line 1-866-717-2673.


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Page Last Updated: 17/01/2017