Asthma is often understood by laypeople to be easy to live with compared to more serious conditions like cancer or cardiovascular disease. But the condition has its own unique challenges for patient and practitioner alike, and physicians must be aware of them in order to provide the best care possible.
Data shows that patients with asthma often become victims of bullying and social isolation, which can cause a ripple effect that lasts a lifetime. Enduring that harsh behavior during development can lead to depression, and depressed patients are less likely to adhere to their treatments, which leads to worsening asthma symptoms and so on.
It’s important that pulmonologists, allergists and immunologists consider the effects that depression may be having on their patients with asthma, according to Payel Gupta, MD.
Payel Gupta, MD, allergist and immunologist, ENT & Allergy Associates, national spokesperson for the American Lung Association:
I went to an asthma lecture and they were talking about how they use a depression inventory scale with all their asthmatic patients. Depression is a huge player in how compliant patients are going to be and how patients perceive their disease.
Especially for asthma, it's a very emotionally-based disease. I thought it was really interesting that some practitioners were using these depression inventories to kind of know where their patients are at, and then going to the next step, which is referring their patients to a psychologist or to a psychiatrist for whatever it seems like the patient might need to help them with that aspect of their health.
I thought that that was interesting and I'm going to try to implement that in my severe asthmatics.