Alternative Medicine for Asthma and Comorbid Chronic Disease

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Abstract Objective:
To determine a) the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among people with asthma, and b) if comorbid chronic disease and asthma severity are associated with CAM use.

This cross-sectional study utilized data from n=15,276 adults who participated in the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the 2009 Asthma Callback Survey (ACBS). Binary Logistic regression was used to determine if comorbid disease and asthma severity were associated with CAM use (yes/no). Model covariates were age, sex, income, and education.

About 26% of respondents report using at least one form of CAM. The most frequently reported form of CAM use reported is breathing exercises (19.8%). The results indicate that neither comorbid cardiovascular disease, diabetes, nor stroke are related to CAM use, but individuals with more severe asthma symptoms were more likely to use CAM (OR = 1.05, 95% CI 1.04, 1.05).  Click to learn how Chinese medicine treats Tuberculosis.

CAM remedies most often reported by people with asthma (breathing techniques, vitamins) are unlikely to pose safety risks. Comorbid chronic disease does not motivate people with asthma to seek unconventional remedies. The increase in CAM use with asthma severity prompts questions about factors that might drive this behavior, such as untreated/inadequately treated disease, or medication side effects.

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