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Other health problems may contribute to asthma flare-ups

Frequently visiting the doctor due to other health problems can make asthma worse.

Analysis published this July in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal points to a correlation between non-asthma-related doctor visits and overall worsened asthma. This suggests that maintaining better health in general can help reduce potential respiratory problems.

The study was based on analysis of 166 patients who had been diagnosed with asthma and prescribed inhaled steroids. The data was collected over a five year period within a health clinic in England.

The researchers concluded that two or more non-asthma related doctor visits caused by illness per year could put patients at risk for exacerbated asthma problems in the future. Though the study was conducted for the benefit of general practitioners (GPs), those who suffer from asthma can use this information as a tool in controlling their own health as well.

In addition to the number of visits, certain other health problems were also linked to the increased respiratory difficulties. Those who suffered from psychological illness, gastric and musculoskeletal issues and sinusitis were all at greater risk of worsening asthma.

Though the study related that there was a correlation between asthma flare-ups and general health, according to the report, further research is needed to find out why this is. But he researchers maintain that just acknowledging this correlation can help doctors to identify and reduce asthma risk in their patients.

Michael Highland and his colleagues wrote, "We believe that we have identified a simple tool that will help GPs identify and target resources for at-risk patients."

Those who suffer from asthma in concordance with other health problems can use the information from this study to try to keep themselves in better health and be careful for asthma flare-ups. 

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