Joshua Denson, MD, MS: Comorbidities Associated with Asthma

OCTOBER 09, 2018
Krista Rossi
Along with its own challenges, asthma can also bring a host of comorbidities, making treatment complex and symptoms widespread.

To find out which key factors should be addressed in the comorbidities associated with asthma, MD Magazine® sat down with Joshua Denson, MD, MS, of Tulane University School of Medicine at the 2018 CHEST Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX.



MD Mag: What are the key factors in addressing comorbidities associated with asthma?

Denson: We talk about making sure that asthmatics are using their inhalers correctly. We talk about [with our patients] using their inhalers every day, no matter what is happening with them, to [ensure they can] control their symptoms.  

Comorbidities are a huge issue in asthma, and I think most primary care physicians are aware of this and looking for this. They’re looking for gastroesophageal reflux and obstructive sleep apnea, but there are a number of comorbidities that are associated with asthma that we are still discovering. I think in my practice, it’s a huge part of the care for an asthmatic patient.

You would really be surprised by how much of dramatic benefit you will see—if you really go beyond just 1 medication for that comorbidity and really target and really try to fix that problem—in the care of asthma patients.

MD Mag: What are some of the most common comorbidities associated with asthma?

Denson: Most of the common comorbidities would be reflux. It’s not just about having reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, it’s also the risk of having aspiration. We’ll counsel them on not only to use medication, but we’ll also counsel them on therapeutic maneuvers and lifestyle choices they can alter to affect their risks for aspiration.

That [aspiration] can lead to other issues. Obstructive sleep apnea is something the primary care providers can really diagnosis and target treatment, and routine healthcare maintenance can help. Obesity, for instance, has a clear relationship with asthma, and exercise benefits asthma too.

Trying to figure out a way patients can work on their weight as well as their lifestyle will ultimately benefit these patients.”   

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