Benefits of Online Asthma Support

If you ever go online for help when your asthma symptoms flare, you could have the right idea. At least that's the word from a study conducted by researchers affiliated with Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, which discovered that people who supplement their regular asthma care with online support are better able to control their daily symptoms than their counterparts.

Asthma Support via the Web

These findings, which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in July of 2009, reveal that the Internet can be a valuable tool for asthmatics, when used along with getting more traditional face-to-face clinical care.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers looked at 200 adults who suffer from asthma, and divided them into two groups that they studied for a period of a year. One group was provided with access to an asthma management website where they could learn more about this condition monitor their own symptoms on a regular basis and consult with a nurse via the Internet to share any minor changes in the condition so they could respond by altering their treatment plan as needed. The other group received only standard, in-person care.

Controlling Symptoms Using Internet Asthma Support

Interestingly enough, those patients who were provided with these strategic Internet resources for asthma self-management had better control over their symptoms at the end of the 12 months than did their counter parts, who were exclusively receiving traditional care. The group with Internet support also showed more days without asthma symptoms than others without access to the online care.

But while daily symptoms were improved among the Internet group, the frequency of asthma attacks remained unchanged in the two groups. What this means, then, is that including online resources as part of an asthma management plan can be an important way to help people keep their asthma from getting out of hand. Yet while these improvements can be very beneficial and decrease people's need for traditional medical care, it also won't completely cure asthma or prevent an asthma flare.

Nonetheless, the researchers believe this supplemental online care shows great promise for asthma patients and provides hope for improving their quality of life over the long term.

Web-based Asthma is Key to Self Management

As a result of these conclusions, the scientists recommend that the medical field move toward more internet-based asthma treatment programs to help patients take more control of their condition. Having regular online access to monitor symptoms and change treatment plans as needed can be key to asthma management. Further, by using this method of online consultations, patients can have instant access to advice without having to take time out from their busy lives to seek traditional medical care.


Annals of Internal Medicine