Asthma is a lung disease that affects people of all ages. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness due to inflammation and constriction of the tiny airways in the lungs. Because of symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, asthma is a serious noncommunicable disease that affects children and adults alike. In 2019, asthma affected an estimated 262 million individuals and killed 461,000 people.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) can now be incorporated into asthma care. One of the most significant advantages of RPM is that it eliminates the need for travel. Patients who live in rural locations are frequently distant from their primary care physician or specialist, making commuting to the office or clinic a significant strain. In many circumstances, the patient’s requirement is basic; for example, they may only require a rescue inhaler refill or have a question about their medicine. The patient can virtually communicate with their provider, reply to symptom surveys, and participate in biometric monitoring via RPM technology. Let’s look at some important facts about asthma.
What are the risk factors for developing asthma?
- Chances of hereditary asthma are greater if other close relatives or parent/siblings have asthma.
- People with other allergy disorders, such as eczema and rhinitis, are more likely to develop asthma.
- Increased asthma prevalence is linked to urbanization, most likely due to several lifestyle variables.
- Early childhood events can have an impact on the developing lungs and raise the chance of asthma. Low birth weight, preterm birth, cigarette smoke exposure, and other respiratory diseases are among them.
- Exposure to a variety of environmental allergens and irritants.
- Overweight or obese children and adults.
What are the triggers for asthma?
- Irritants, such as pollen and dander
- Smoke and chemicals are irritants
- Other health problems
- A few medications
- Intense feelings
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Not every individual with asthma experiences the same symptoms. You may not experience all of these symptoms at the same time, or you may experience various symptoms at different periods. Symptoms may also differ from one asthma episode to the next, with one being minor and the next being severe. Symptoms of asthma may include:
- Coughing, particularly late at night or early in the morning
- When you breathe, you’ll hear a whistling sound
- Breathing problems
- Chest constriction, discomfort, or pressure
- Breathing issues are making it difficult to sleep
What are the complications of asthma?
- Being exhausted all of the time
- Underperformance at work or school, or absence from school
- Anxiety, despair, or stress
- Unscheduled appointments to the doctor or hospital disrupting your job and pleasure
- Infected lungs (pneumonia)
- Children’s growth or puberty delays
What is the treatment for asthma?
Inhalers are commonly used to treat asthma. Inhalers may include bronchodilators (such as salbutamol) that expand the airways and steroids that decrease inflammation in the airways (such as beclometasone). The most common types of inhalers are:
- Reliever inhalers are used when immediate relief from asthma symptoms is required.
- Preventer inhalers are used on a daily basis to keep asthma symptoms at bay.
How can remote patient monitoring help in asthma care?
Patients with asthma must routinely contact their healthcare provider in order to keep their symptoms under control and make changes to their treatment plan, if necessary. Follow-up visits and respiratory tests are commonly costly for most patients. RPM helps reduce such costs by allowing patients to monitor their vitals remotely through the use of home monitoring devices and secure mobile applications that automatically transmit health data to care providers.
An asthma management plan, also known as an Asthma Action Plan, is critical for patients. Patients with asthma can create plans that include exercise, techniques to prevent triggers, emergency action plans, and their drug regimen in collaboration with their pulmonologist and primary care provider. To make care more convenient, continuous, and successful, many providers are adding remote patient monitoring and telehealth systems into their patients’ management plans.
Remote patient monitoring can be effective strategies for asthmatic patients. The benefits may include:
- Lower transportation and medical costs
- Better symptom management
- Improved medication adherence
- Reduced hospitalization and readmission
- Better access to care
What are the remote patient devices that are applicable to asthma?
- Asthma patients can use a Bluetooth spirometer to monitor their lung function and assess their symptoms.
- Smart inhalers include integrated electronics in the mouthpieces that count actual medicine doses depending on drug discharge.
- Asthma wearables that can predict and prevent asthma attacks.
- Remote patient monitoring pulse oximeter that can assess the severity of acute asthma.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can be managed but not cured. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, chronic coughing, and wheezing are among the symptoms of asthma, which can range from mild to severe and remote patient monitoring can help in every step of the way.
If you are a healthcare provider looking for ways to incorporate technological advancement like Remote Patient Monitoring to your Asthma Care practice, we can help you. Contact DrKumo for more information.
- Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet. 2020;396(10258):1204-22.