Looking back on several articles I have written on asthma I was struck by the changes in medical understanding that has occurred in just a few years. More importantly, how these changes in understanding have resulted in newer therapeutic approaches for patients suffering from asthma.
In an article I wrote just about 8 years ago the discussion was about the different presentations of asthma and the different triggers associated with it. I made mention about looking at something called biomarkers in asthma patients but how this translated into a different therapeutic approach was unclear. The concept of using biomarkers to help guide therapy is now common place.
Biomarkers are blood tests which tell pulmonary physicians something about the nature of the specific inflammatory process which may underly the disease in a particular patient. Moreover, depending on the specific biomarker we now have some focused medications to help provide better control of asthma symptoms.
Patients often ask “Doctor, will I need to take this medication for the rest of my life?”. I usually tell them that the rest of your life is a long tine and newer treatments may arise that will significantly alter your disease course. My recent review of my 8 year old article bears this opinion out. I am not sure I will be around to review this article in 8 years but rest assured the treatment of asthma will have changed and there will be a new understanding of the disease and new therapies to help.