One problem may be compliance with the doctor's orders when it comes to taking medications. A second study that was expected to be presented at the same meeting found that even when people have insurance, and they have a regular doctor, they may not always follow their asthma management plans. The study found that about one in four children with insurance were using inhaled corticosteroids while just one in five uninsured children were. The published study information did not identify the severity of the asthma.
Another study, this one from the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, suggests that insurance status does affect compliance. This study found that 30 percent of those with insurance were taking preventive asthma medications, while only 18 percent without insurance were on the drugs.
"We've made a significant impact on asthma management, and we're definitely moving in the right direction," said Hersh, who added, "The ultimate goal is not just to prevent asthma, but ultimately to find a cure."
Learn more about asthma treatments from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
SOURCES: Jennifer Appleyard, M.D., chief, allergy and immunology, St. John Hospital, Detroit; Alissa Hersh, M.D., assistant clinical professor, division of allergy and immunology, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital at New York-Presbyterian, New York City; March 14, 2009, presentations, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.