One of the things that I try to stress to patients when diagnosing their asthmatic condition is that the treatment and the outlook for their disease today will likely change in their lifetime. I know this because the treatments and the discussions I can have with patients about their asthma has changed over my lifetime. The latest advances in asthma treatment involve so-called biologic treatments.
Biologic treatments for asthma have grown out of years of research trying to understand the basic molecular basis of this disease. There is now better understanding of the molecules involved in the inflammatory process, which appears to be so important in causing the problems in asthmatic patients. These pathways of inflammation were unknown when I started treating patients with asthma. Now the list includes treatments that suppress both cellular and chemical immunity to help control a patient’s symptoms. These new treatments, along with our current standard inhaler medications, have vastly improved the outcome for many patients.
The genetics of asthma are also coming under advanced scrutiny. I believe the day will come when we will be able to more accurately diagnose this disease and accurately define the best treatment for each patient.
My purpose today is to give some hope to patients with asthma, and also to remind them that more advanced treatments are available if standard therapy is not successful in controlling symptoms. You should seek attention from knowledgeable physicians who can explain and guide you through the choices of the currently available advanced treatments.