Declaring War on Severe Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome

Highly Prevalent But Terribly Underappreciated

Folsom, CA. War has been declared on Severe Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS).
It’s tied in with recognition of World Asthma Day May 7, 2013.

The World Asthma Foundation (WAF) is leading the charge to raise awareness and to elevate the discussion about this highly prevalent but terribly underappreciated ACOS syndrome.

ACOS, which was formerly called “asthmatic bronchitis,” is a commonly experienced, yet loosely defined clinical entity. It accounts for approximately 15 to 25 percent of the general population with obstructive airway diseases who experience more severe outcomes compared to asthma or COPD alone.

The prevalence of frequent exacerbations in ACOS is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than COPD and risk of severe exacerbations in ACOS is twice as high as COPD. However, standard treatment options are not as aggressive as needed to treat the asthma-COPD syndrome.

“ACOS is concerning because it’s much worse in terms of exacerbations, or acute attacks of breathlessness, as compared to COPD.” said Amir Zeki, MD, assistant professor of medicine pulmonary, critical, and sleep medicine at the Center for Comparative Respiratory Biology and Medicine at the University of California Davis School Of Medicine and World Asthma Foundation Board Member.

“We are entering a new era of public awareness of people living with chronic lung disease such as asthma and COPD,” said Sam Louie, MD and professor of medicine, director of the UC Davis Asthma Network (UCAN), director of the UC Davis Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease (ROAD) Center, which serves adults and adolescents in Northern California who have difficult to control asthma, bronchiectasis and COPD.

“Our mission at UC Davis is to transform health care by integrating and provide quality patient care services these conditions, which promote patient education and safety, social networking, and to align our goals with national efforts to transform people’s lives,” Louie said. “But we can achieve success without recognizing the clear and present danger from not being aware of the Asthma-COPD Overlap syndrome.”

“It really all begins with empathy.” Louie said. “Empathy of healthcare providers for how asthma, COPD and ACOS patients suffer when they are given prescription drugs without education on an individual level. We have to ignite that empathy by increasing awareness and providing education.”
The two physicians are board members of the World Asthma Foundation, which provides educational resources that inform patients, medical professionals and the general public about the latest clinical advances, management and treatment options for asthma disorders, including ACOS.

“People with asthma, COPD and ACOS deserve better,” Louie said. “It requires that we all take responsibility, patients too, but physicians must take their empathy one step further and realize how reversible asthma, COPD and ACOS can be.”

William Cullifer, executive director of the World Asthma Foundation, said, “This is a fascinating new development in the understanding of asthma and COPD and it’s fantastic to be on the forefront of educating the public and the healthcare community about this issue.”

Louie added, “When you get done taking care of the disease, you’re taking care of people. We must fight indifference and the only way to do that is to get the word out that we all have much more to achieve together to empower patients with reversible obstructive airway diseases.”

For more information visit: http://asthmacopdoverlapsyndrome.org

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